A Night of One Acts

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pearl River Central High School students Kamron Lewis (left) and Colby Buras (right) rehearse a scene before Tuesday's opening performance of A Night of One Acts at Picayune Memorial High School Auditorium. Photo by Julia Arenstam

Pearl River Central High School students Kamron Lewis (left) and Colby Buras (right) rehearse a scene before Tuesday’s opening performance of A Night of One Acts at Picayune Memorial High School Auditorium.
Photo by Julia Arenstam

The theater groups at Picayune Memorial High School and Pearl River Central High School are joining forces again this year to showcase local talent in a Night of One Acts performance.

For decades, the two schools have set aside their rivalry and put on performances for the community.

The Picayune drama department will perform “¡Bocón!” by Lisa Loomer, a short play about a young Latino boy who lost his voice after his parents were kidnapped by an oppressive government.

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The Latin word “Bocón,” translates to ‘big mouth’ Picayune drama director William Rester said.

He said he is taking a backseat to his students this year by choosing a play that would allow them to express their more creative side.

“I’m just one person…they’re a family like brothers and sisters are,” Rester said. “When they see how hard they’ve worked and when they get to a point in the end where they’re happy with their achievements, it’s all worth it.”

The sets live up to their fabled nature, providing the actors with enchanting scenes and rhythmic, hair-raising music.

The main character, Miguel, played by Jesus Rodrigues, is slowly making his way to the U.S., border but is confronted by a series of Mexican folk tales, Rester said.

“He lives that journey of trying to understand who he is and trying to get his voice back at the same time,” he said.

Holding true to tradition, PRC’s performance is a stark contrast to Picayune’s.

Set during the finals days of World War II, PRC students stepped into the shoes of veterans to perform “The Bells of Charlemont” by Don Zolidis.

“I am extremely passionate about the WWII era,” PRC drama director Amber Mauldin said, who fell in love with the pinup style in 2008 and continues to hold a passion for it.

“The WWII era is not only about the pinup for me, but it’s about veterans,” Mauldin said. “I love what they stand for, I love what they did for us and they deserve a thousand more thanks than we can possibly give them.”

The Bells of Charlemont is a decades-long story based on a true love affair between an American soldier and a young French widow who meet in the war-torn town of Charlemont, France just before the end of the war, Mauldin said.

The play combines the ideals of pink, wind-blown cheeks inspired by Norman Rockwell paintings and the snowy Christmas spirit, she said.

“We have a line in the show, ‘Recontez leur l’historire’ which means ‘Tell them the story,’” Mauldin said. “What could mean more to the family member of a veteran—or a veteran—than to see a group of young kids portraying such an impactful scene?”

To prepare for the performance, Mauldin took her students to a Bob Hope tribute concert at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. The trip helped her students better understand that time period and what it was like for the soldiers retuning to a new America after the war, she said.

“It’s taken since July for them to grasp what it means to not only fight in a war, but to have seen things,” she said.

Mauldin said one student in particular, Kamron Lewis who plays Milo, has taken a particular interest in his role by researching the era and using it for inspiration in his creative writing class.

In one scene, Lewis asks fellow cast member Colby Buras (John), “Do you believe in God?” before delving into an emotional monologue about the lives that have been lost.

Audience members are invited to compare and contrast the two 45-minute performances Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Picayune Memorial High School Auditorium.

Ticket cost $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.

“It’s really important that art especially sticks together in a town that doesn’t see what New York City sees,” Mauldin said. “It doesn’t matter, small town, big town, medium town, it doesn’t matter; talent can come out from down underneath a rock.”

Because it is their largest performance of the year, and heavily attended, “It has been such a big validation, in a way…it makes them feel like they are more than just the school play,” Rester said.


About Julia Arenstam

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