A Fresh Take on Student Directed Scenes

The Student Directed Scenes are back and better than ever. This year, the Gelb Theater will be greeted by both fresh and familiar faces on the Choate stage. Last year, the directors took the audience for a game on the golf course, through an adventure in a rocky maze, into the living room of a lazy artist, and on loops around the world. This year is no different. Leading the production are directors Lily Kops ’18, Calvin Carmichael ’18, Avery Lutter ’18, Jack Fuchs ’18, Connor Barnes ’19, Simi Sachdeva ’19, and Journee Brown’ 19.

This year’s directors are recognized for their unique and vastly different styles. Kops is known for her visually appealing shows; Lutter is known for her exciting and laughter-inducing performances; Carmichael’s show truly reflects who he is; Fuchs’s performances carry a deeper meaning and are often a commentary on philosophies; Brown is known for her creativity and amazing visualization; Barnes is insanely creative and abstract; Sachdeva is known for her precision and artistic intuition.

Sachdeva  is directing Perchance. She chose it based on her final directing project for her class. Sachdeva said, “I think each member of the directing class went through a lot of options before settling on their plays. Some people knew exactly which play they wanted to do, but I had a very specific image in my mind. While I was doing my final project, I was reminded of the three-dimensionality of love: I immediately remembered reading Perchance and seeing it reflected in this idea of love. I knew then that this was the play that I wanted to direct.”

Avery Lutter, like Sachdeva, picked her play to portray a lighthearted message. Lutter’s performance, written by Ron Burch, is titled The Origin Story of Lewis Hackett. She said, “The play is so fun and interesting. It involves two different realities in a sort of way. It also incorporates a ton of jokes and great character development.” Connor Barnes, on the other hand, chose his play, What Remains of Youth by Erik Gernand, for a completely different reason. He said, “The reason I picked it was because I found it extremely relevant to today’s society and culture. If you don’t know, my play is about a college student who writes a story about a school shooting. Gun control is definitely a controversial topic in America and this play is just one of the many answers to the question of why these tragic acts of violence occur.”

To be able to carry such messages and specific visions of the directors on stage, a selective casting process must occur. On December 3rd, eighty Choate students auditioned for the roles of “Antonio”, “Robbie”, and more. Out of the eighty, twenty-five actors were casted. All the directors had specific traits they looked for in cast members. Barnes saids, “My cast members have the ability to deliver my vision and have already shown great range in their performance.” Sachdeva commented, “The moment I saw the auditions I knew who I wanted. Because everyone at the audition was talented, it came down to who fit the role best.”

Many familiar faces are making a return to the Choate stage. Max Patel ’19 performed in last year’s show as well. He said, “I decided to audition again because I had such an amazing time last year and grew to be very close with the cast members. There is just something cool about being on stage with friends, acting out stage direction given by a friend.” Leila Cohen ’19 echoed this sentiment. She said, “I auditioned because I love acting. Also, my friends convinced me to try out. I am really excited to see the final product and how the audience will react to my character.” Skylar Hansen Raj ’20, a newcomer to the SDS stage, said, “I decided to audition because I like to act but have a commitment to sports in the fall, winter, and spring terms.” She added, “I am excited to be able to perform in front of my peers and get more acting experience.”

This year’s show will definitely be another memorable performance at Choate. Be ready for unique performances and incredible talent on the Gelb Theatre Stage. Make sure to be on the lookout for Student Directed Scenes this winter and the talented people involved in bringing them to fruition.

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