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One act, infinite opportunities at Paul VI

High schools across the country nurture the arts through theater programs, allowing students to try acting and singing onstage. However, students often aren’t provided the opportunities to write the script, choreograph the dance or direct the show. Through its one acts program, St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax is providing its students that opportunity.

Paul VI one act

Maddie Mangilit, a senior at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, plays the role of Jean MacLaren in the PVI Players' recent production of “Brigadoon.” COURTESY

Every spring, seniors in Paul VI’s advanced acting ensemble class, a difficult course that usually requires an audition for entry, put together their own show. For their final project of the year, they run auditions, direct, and often create their own script and choreography for one acts. Each play runs less than 30 minutes, and the genres range from heartbreaking to hilarious. This year, six seniors will present their shows on Paul VI’s stage.

Kathy d’Alelio, the head of Paul VI’s theater program, said the logistics can be the hidden challenge of directing. While d’Alelio is fully confident in the artistic capability of her acting ensemble students, she said, “It is always a shock to new directors to discover all the technicalities they have to deal with: juggling actors, time management, keeping everything organized.” The simple task of getting the actors to rehearsal can be exasperating.

Despite the fact that taking on the director responsibilities of casting and making the creative decisions is incredibly nerve-wracking, Paul VI student Maddie Mangilit said, “I think it’s really nice to watch your own creation come to life instead of watching someone else’s story.”

Mangilit, who choreographed a dance interpretation of the Disney movie “Up,” said, “I just wanted to tell the story in a completely different way, and I think it’s told best through dancing. It just provides a new, unique perspective on it.”

With a lower time commitment than the full-length productions, one acts provide an opportunity for those interested in theater to try out the stage. Even Jak Ketron, an experienced high school actor, said he learns something new every time he acts.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019