This article was originally published in the spring 2013 Harker Quarterly.
In early January, Student-Directed Showcase put the directorial talents of Harker Conservatory seniors on display in a series of one-act plays. This year’s show featured “The Shadow Box,” directed by Cecilia Lang-Ree, “The Choice is Yours,” directed by Lori Berenberg, “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” directed by Cristina Jerney and “DNA,” directed by Hannah Prutton.
Each production required a great deal of preparation and hands-on work from the student directors, who were involved in every step of the process, including auditioning actors, budgeting, planning and arranging sets and making sure all the technical details fell into place. They learned many more ambiguous lessons along the way, such as “when to stay on certain points and let go on others. And sometimes, letting the process take care of itself instead of trying to control everything,” said Jerney. The class is taught by K-12 performing arts chair Laura Lang-Ree, who selects three to four seniors each year after an in-depth audition and interview and guides them through the directing process.
But despite the challenges faced by each of the directors, it is clear that the road to completing the production is one the entire cast and crew travel together. “[My favorite part of directing was] definitely bonding and spending time with my cast,” Jerney said. “They were a really great group of people and I really had fun sharing this experience with them.”
As with every Harker production, Student-Directed Showcase was made possible by a sturdy crew of students and faculty. Harker’s production manager, Brian Larsen, acted as technical director and sound engineer, while Simon Orr, grade 12, was stage manager and Nicholas Semenza, grade 11, deftly handled lighting during the show.
The deck crew of Alex Thomas and Jeremy Binkley, both grade 10, and Shilpa Repakula and Zarek Drozda, both grade 9, kept the show running smoothly, and sophomore Delaney Martin handled props and costumes. Stalwart scenic and lighting designer Paul Vallerga again offered his talents to the production, and Caela Fujii offered her guidance on costuming.