The Harker Conservatory opened 2016 with its Student Directed Showcase, which took place at the Blackford Theater Jan. 8-9. One of the most rigorous courses in the performing arts program, the Student Directed Showcase puts four seniors each in charge of putting on a one-act play. In addition to directing the play, the students are tasked with handling every stage of its production, from casting to promotion to visual effects.
In the aptly named “The Internet is Distract – OH LOOK A KITTEN!” directed by Mary Najibi, a student struggled to divert her attention away from the Internet’s many distractions while finishing a paper. Rachel Renteria directed Bradley Hayward’s “Selfie,” a story about high school students dealing with mounting pressures as they near the end of their senior year. “Cheating Death,” directed by Janet Lee, took audiences to a mental hospital, where patients tried to outwit the angel of death in an effort to save their friend. M.C. Smitherman directed “Final Dress Rehearsal,” which followed the cast and crew of an amateur theater group as they attempted to save their flagging production of “Cinderella.”
“The most important lesson I learned while directing was learning how to be kind while also being assertive. Into the process, I really found got into the groove of being a director by clearly vocalizing when I wanted the actors to give more or try the scene a new way,” said Najibi, also noting that being a director was “such an amazing experience and I am so honored to have had such an opportunity.”