From left to right: Seniors Marissa Pukala-Whitaker, Devin Eckardt, Paxton Linnemeyer and Emily Stabile are the four seniors chosen to direct one acts for the spring play. (Chasteanne Salvosa)
From left to right: Seniors Marissa Pukala-Whitaker, Devin Eckardt, Paxton Linnemeyer and Emily Stabile are the four seniors chosen to direct one acts for the spring play.

Chasteanne Salvosa

Seniors Time to Shine

Liberty’s Theatre program produces its first annual senior directed one acts

April 5, 2019

Within the past five years, Liberty has started various traditions, from the bridge walk to Lady Liberty. The Thespian Troupe is no exception, announcing a new annual tradition – senior directed one acts, which will be directed solely by students instead of Mrs. Gehrke. Not only that, but Mrs. Gehrke will be completely separate from the set-making, costuming, and all other aspects of the plays. This will give new directors the chance to make their production completely and absolutely their own, from the actors to the lighting.

The selected seniors are Paxton Linnemeyer, Devin Eckardt, Marissa Pukala-Whitaker and Emily Stabile. Show dates are set for May 10 and 11, so don’t forget to support your thespians.

Jimmy the Antichrist – Directed by Paxton Linnemeyer

Paxton Linnemeyer is directing “Jimmy the Antichrist,” a play by Keith J. Powell. This show centers around Jimmy, and the shocking revelation he reveals to his family.

“It’s about this young man who comes home from college for Thanksgiving dinner, and he tells his parents that he’s the Antichrist, and a lot of stuff happens after that. It’s completely bizarre, it’s pretty out there, it’s a satire, and it’s gonna be fun,” Linnemeyer said.

While he has acted in many of Liberty’s production, this is his first time directing.

“I’m not really nervous, more excited than anything else cause I’ve always wanted to do something with directing. I feel like I’ve got some good ideas, and it’s always interested me so I figured I might as well,” Linnemeyer said.

His play features sophomores Lizzie Kayser (Joyce) and Brooke Huffman, (Denise), junior Nash Gilbo (Colin), and seniors Cat Frank (Aunt Cathy), Liam Finnegan (Frank) and Braden McMakin (Jimmy). This is the smallest cast out of all of the one acts, with only six people.

“It was kind of hard casting, not gonna lie, there were some roles that were pretty easy, I knew,” Linnemeyer said. “There were also a couple roles where I was completely like, ‘I don’t know where to go with this,’ but eventually after I figured it all out it came together. Granted, mine only has six people, so I had to make some choices.”

When asked what he’s loved most about directing, Linnemeyer knew exactly what to say.

“Getting all of my thoughts out, and being able to see it come together on stage. It kind of validates how I feel. I feel like it just helps me get a development and an understanding of what different aspects of theatre are like. I’m looking forward to being able to work with people in a new way,” Linnemeyer said.

The 10 Best/Worst Things about High School – Co-Directed by Devin Eckardt and Marissa Pukala-Whitaker

Devin Eckardt and Marissa Pukala-Whitaker are co-directing ‘The 10 Best/Worst Things about High School,’ a play by M.G. Davidson, which focuses on the ups and downs of high school.

“It’s basically about these two kids, one who loves high school and thinks everything’s great about high school, and then the other one obviously has not had a good experience with high school, and they’re basically going back and forth from different perspectives. It’s just fun how they play off of each other, and it makes it really funny,” Pukala-Whitaker said.

Unlike her fellow directors, Pukala-Whitaker has directed before. Her repertoire contains various videos on the Amethyst Pictures YouTube channel. However, this is her first time directing a live show.

“It wasn’t super planned. Devin had asked me if I wanted to direct with him and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure,’ so it was kind of a spur of the moment thing to gain experience,” Pukala-Whitaker said.

The show includes freshmen Jackson Martin (Grandpa Charlie/Cop 2/Medic 2/Very Attractive Date), Michael Gannon (Brendan/Math Club Kid/John) and Amanda Yoder (Lanie/Enthusiastic Girl/Cheerleader 2), juniors Annette Oliphant (Narrator 1), Dylan Lindke (Narrator 2), Ben Gagliano (Scary Coach Jason/Cop 1/Medic 1/Chess Club Geek), Nash Gilbo (Science Club Dork/Dad/Bird), Madison Haynes (Mom/Cheerleader 1/Erin), Abby Hinzman (Boring Tour Guide/Principal/Hippie-Looking Kid) and Julia Deters (French Club Girl/Prom Committee Member/Date), and senior Ashlynn Thompson (Janice/Drama Kid/Lizzie).

“It was definitely very strange picking the cast,” Pukala-Whitaker said. “It felt like I was in a movie where everything is switched around, it really felt like that, and I was like, ‘This is kinda weird,’ but it was pretty difficult casting. Because you’d have someone who fit the role perfectly but then you’d have this person who took it in a completely different way that you’d love to see.”

Directing does have its downsides, but Pukala-Whitaker prefers to look at the positives.

“I’m looking forward to see how it turns out in the end, to see, ‘Did I do this right?’ It definitely shows me the more behind the scenes side of it because most people see what’s going on on stage, but it’s getting a look behind everything else,” Pukala-Whitaker said.

The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time – Directed by Emily Stabile

Emily Stabile is directing ‘The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time,’ a play by Ian McWethy, a history of awful breakups and relationships.

“It’s about this girl who gets over a nasty breakup because her boyfriend cheated on her, and this girl Eve shows her, ‘Oh, this isn’t the worst breakup ever, I will show you nine of the worst breakups of all time so you can get over it and start dating again.’ It’s really funny, it’s really weird, and I think it will give students a really different perspective of how dating works and how breakups will work,” Stabile said.

Stabile is also a first time director, and is currently undecided about whether she’s excited or nervous.

“This is just something I really wanted to try to help build up more leadership skills, and just see what it’s like directing a show,” Stabile said.  “I’m most looking forward to working with the actors and making the show come to life and I’m nervous about things going wrong.”

Stabile’s show features freshmen Avery Schlattman (Katie), Amanda Yoder (Eve), Bianca Jorden (Manager/Veronica), Michael Gannon (Bill/Cooper/Calvin) and Jackson Martin (Billy/Waiter/Lincoln/Friend 1), sophomore Shaina Feinstein (Wilma/Amanda), juniors Julia Deters (Tina/Friend 2), Annette Oliphant (Abbey/Jessica), Abby Hinzman (Mandy/Julie), Ben Gagliano (Teddy/Tyler/Buddy/Charlie) and Dylan Lindke (Louis/Guy/Elijah/Adam), and senior Ashlynn Thompson (Betty/Waitress).

“It really wasn’t an easy process casting since I had so many roles,” Stabile said. “Casting the girls was really easy because there were so many of them, but casting the guys was really hard because there wasn’t that many guys who auditioned. I had to narrow it down to placing certain characters with certain actors so it’s not too complicated for their costume changes.”

Excited to venture into unknown, Stabile is looking forward to the show.

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