Theater students write, direct and star in their own creations with ‘Student One Acts’


Anne Stevenson, left, and Elizabeth Melcher perform in "To Who I Loved Before" during the "Student One Acts" on Wednesday, Nov. 20. The One Acts were performed in the Black Box Theatre in the Performing Arts Center. Photo credit: Justin Downes

By Justin Downes

The Theater Arts Department presented its “Student One Acts”, a series of plays entirely written, directed and performed by Moorpark College students. Nine short plays are showing Wednesday through Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre at the Preforming Arts Center.

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Desiree Hayden, left, and Mya Forster apply makeup backstage before the "Student One Acts" on Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the Performing Arts Center. Photo credit: Justin Downes

Moorpark College’s Theater Arts Department Chair John Loprieno said these performances are some of the first plays ever written by students.

“We offer the skills needed to pull off an entire stage production. Essentially this is project management in practice. For many of our acting students, this one act turns into a second act,” Loprieno said.

Cam Sherman, 20, of Simi Valley is the theater house manager and wants to transition into professional acting. This is the fifth “Student One Acts” that Sherman has been involved in. He has also performed in two of the plays.

“I love it and keep coming back for more. The program is unique at Moorpark because it’s one of the only schools that allows students to learn how to run the show themselves. I have the best hands on experience I can get,” Sherman said.

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Cam Sherman envelopes Anna Stevenson and Christina McClintok in a hug in Eli, Eli, on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Everything from casting to stage props, makeup and production are all managed by students.

Jaz Johnson, 20, a student at Moorpark said he appreciates the support from Moorpark’s theater department.

“I really like that they give us the freedom to fail. We’re allowed to try things until we find something that works,” stated Johnson.

Maddie Cassidy, 19, of Moorpark had her first directing experience with the comedy “Pisces & Gemini”. She also wrote “To Who I Loved Before” and is staring in “Reflection” based on the Greek myth of Narcissus and Echo.

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Maddie Cassidy plays Narcissus during the "Student One Acts" in the Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Photo credit: Justin Downes

Students were given the opportunity to flourish within their own specialty, whether that was directing or acting.

Macky Solis, 19, from Moorpark was relieved after his performance in “Pisces & Gemini”, in which a friend becomes obsessed with zodiac signs to the point of compulsion.

“This was my best take yet. We got a lot of laughs,” Solis expressed.

The plays range from comedic to tragic and explore subject matter like relationships gone wrong, forbidden love, the afterlife, the pros and cons of horoscopes and the artistic pressures of being Michelangelo’s son.

“Student One Acts” is running from Nov. 20-23. Catch the last showing tonight at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 at the door and $12 for online purchases. For more information visit the Performing Arts Center box office or call 805-378-1485.