Moorpark College Theatre Arts department’s presents spring ‘Student One Acts’ via Zoom


The Moorpark College performing arts center remains closed after the order for all classes transition to online, on Tuesday, March, 17. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Audrey Lang

Moorpark College’s Theatre Arts Department performed their spring ‘Student One Acts’ on Friday, April 30 at 8 p.m. via Zoom. These 10 one act plays varied in many creative mediums and kept the virtual audience captivated for the evening.

Theatre Arts Instructor Suzanne Fagan administered the one act plays, producing the whole production. Due to the large amount of submissions and wide variety of creative content, Fagan decided to not go with one specific theme for the ‘Student One Acts’.

Each performance told a story and was aided by different visual formats in which the students chose to present their acts. Many acts were performed as theatre, films, podcasts, songs, etc. Some were even presented with rough edits and uploaded via YouTube.

Lary Shilkoff, a 65-year-old actor, acted in the one acts for his first time. Shilkoff took the challenges of acting over Zoom and playing an “unusual role” of an inanimate object and turned it into a creative performance.

“Combined with the tight framing involved with Zoom, there were additional constraints to deal with besides learning to get the emotions and reactions delivered to the viewer. It gave me a whole new appreciation to the artists behind The Muppets,” Shilkoff stated.

As the COVID-19 regulations still called for all online learning, the actors had to face the challenges of acting through their computer screens. Some of the actors were able to film in person together under the circumstances of socially distancing, wearing masks, being vaccinated or getting COVID-19 tested.

Maya Forster, a second year Theatre Arts major, acted in two one act plays. One was performed via Discord while the other was shot individually over Zoom.

Forster explained, “The biggest challenges so far have been the infamous ‘Zoom Lag’ and the unfortunate circumstance of having a bit more difficulty making a close connection between characters and actors. Doing a dramatic scene or a confrontation just doesn’t feel as genuine when you’re sitting in your bedroom and talking to a screen.”

The 10 acts all varied in subject and content material. Some acts presented serious, personal experiences that were emotionally performed through poetic monologues. Other acts were comedic, fictional plays that told drastic stories. All acts were creatively presented, showcasing the writer’s visions.

The one acts were all inclusive. Some included American Sign Language, some included student written scores and two of the plays were written by students at the Ventura Youth Correctional facility.

Theatre Arts and Film/TV major, 24-year-old Rachael Gula, had the opportunity to direct Stella R.H.’s play “Hell’s Broken Heart,” which included an ASL student, Megan Clancy.

Gula said, “With the help of deaf actress Megan Clancy, who plays Pandora, our cast incorporated American Sign Language into the performance as well. We had the ability to include live interpreters, Mary Cancilla and Laura Henry, during every rehearsal.”

Gula also had the opportunity to direct a play written by a student at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, Stella R.H.

“The silver lining of this semester’s virtual One Acts was the ability to connect with our playwright Stella, a student in the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. Having the opportunity to facilitate a safe space for healing and community through theater arts has truly been a gift,” explained Gula.

The spring ‘Student One Acts’ allowed for the students to explore their creative freedoms being all inclusive to everyone.

The student one acts will be uploaded to YouTube for the general public to view at any time, all accessible through the Moorpark College Theatre Arts Department webpage. Two of the plays, “Shooting Perspectives” and “Green Tea and Cinnamon,” and rough edits are also accessible to watch via YouTube along with the word press for “Green Tea and Cinnamon.”