An outstanding performance: WHSTE senior one-acts


Credit: Aimee Smith

Senior Harrison Dietzius’s character, D.W., hides in the pyramids during Wayland High School Theater Ensemble’s production of David Crane’s “Epic Proportions.” Currently, Dietzius is stepping away from the acting side of theater by directing a self-written one-act called “JFK Space Zombies.” His one-act will be performed on June 10, 2022.

Ari Zukerman

Following a year of successful performances, many members of the Wayland High School Theater Ensemble (WHSTE) are proud of the work they have accomplished throughout the year. WHSTE is now coming up on the final event of the year, the senior one-acts.

WHSTE had a successful start to the year with its fall musical, Amanda Brown’s “Legally Blonde.” This comedy followed the story of Elle Woods, a woman who pursued a law degree in hopes of getting her ex-boyfriend back and proving that she isn’t just a “dumb blonde.”

After the fall musical, WHSTE performed Jenny Rachel Weiner’s “Horse Girls” in the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild’s (METG) Drama Festival. This darker comedy was about the chaos that ensues once the leader of a group of 12-year-old “horse girls” learns that her family’s stable is about to be sold.

After WHSTE’s performance of “Horse Girls” won the preliminary round of the METG competition on March 19, WHSTE made it to the regional finals. The regional finals took place on April 2.

“We weren’t selected as winners [at regionals], but [several WHSTE actors] were selected for a number of awards by [judges who were theater professionals],” WHSTE director Aidan O’Hara said.

After the drama festival, WHSTE’s cast and crew performed “Epic Proportions.” The play was centered around two brothers who were primarily cast as extras in a biblical film, until one of them became the director of the film and the other became the lead actor, leading to a brother-versus-brother competition. “Epic Proportions” was written by the creator of “Friends,” David Crane, giving it a unique and chaotic sitcom feel.

“It was great to do a physical comedy show,” O’Hara said. “ We had a cast of around 22 [actors], and a significant number of them were new to WHSTE. It was really exciting to see them perform for the first time.”

However, for many WHSTE seniors, “Epic Proportions” was the last WHSTE play they would ever act in before experiencing the directing side of theater. As part of WHSTE tradition, seniors are given the opportunity to direct a one-act play before they leave WHS.

“I’ve been doing plays with WHSTE since my freshman year, but I’ve never done any directing before [the senior-one act],” senior WHSTE member Grace Stevenson said.

The one-act directors either used pre-made scripts, wrote their own play or asked other students for scripts. Stevenson opted to direct a play written by sophomore Lulu Commetant named “Happy Anniversary,” which follows the friendship of two children from third grade until college.

“[Directing] feels a little weird sometimes, but I’m glad that I get this opportunity to try it out,” Stevenson said.

While the senior one-acts are an exciting opportunity for the directors, they are a unique experience for the actors as well. Sophomore Max Markarian is playing John F. Kennedy in senior Harrison Dietzius’ self-written comedy, “JFK Space Zombies.” Markarian enjoyed his experiences acting in senior one-acts in the past, and finds the varying styles of directing to be an exciting challenge.

“The seniors each have a unique way of directing,” Markarian said. “Last year, when I [acted in] two [senior one-acts], I found [that each senior had] a different way of directing. This year, [Dietzius] also has his own style.”

The senior one-acts will be performed on June 10, and a week later, WHSTE will hold a thespian night for all actors. As for next year, O’Hara is currently working on making final decisions about the 2022 fall musical.

“We’re hoping to announce the title for [the 2022 fall musical this year] so people can [decide whether or not to] audition,” O’Hara said.”