As shows from Berkeley Repertory Theatre crisscross the globe - from Hong Kong to London to New York - local teenagers are getting in on the act with Berkeley Rep's 11th annual Teen One-Acts Festival. This year, two winning teens will premiere their plays at the nonprofit's new Osher Studio in productions directed, designed, and performed entirely by local high-school students.
The winners for 2013 are 17-year-old Frances Maples of Lafayette, a senior at Acalanes High School, and 18-year-old Sophia Cannata-Bowman of San Francisco, a senior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory. Relying on the talents of 24 youth from nine local communities, this year's plays go up at 8:00 PM on March 22 and 23 and 2:00 PM on March 24. Performances take place at Berkeley Rep's Osher Studio in Downtown Berkeley. Tickets are only $10 for students and $15 for adults; for more information, visit berkeleyrep.org/teenoneacts.
"Berkeley Rep's School of Theatre nurtures the kind of refreshing and powerful voices that may one day grace its stages, while providing local teens with the chance to express their creativity and learn important skills," remarks Rachel Fink, director of the School of Theatre. "Every year, the teens put on an incredible show - but the best part is watching them grow through the process to become not only more experienced artists but also more confident and capable individuals."
Frances Maples, who also had a winning script in 2012, returns with Orpheum, a music-infused tale of love, death, and what happens next. Isa loves Stacey, Stacey isn't so sure... and things don't get any easier when the Apocalypse hits and the girls find themselves separated by an incomprehensible bureaucracy. Now Isa must escape from heaven's waiting-room if she wants to rescue her damsel in distress. But Stacey is sick of being a damsel and won't wait around to be saved. Seventeen-year-old director Ivy Olesen of Berkeley, a senior at Berkeley High School, brings this musical love story to life... and afterlife.
In Story by Leonard Watts, Sophia Cannata-Bowman sketches a stunning portrait of the bitter beauty of small-town life. Who wouldn't want to ditch the danger and drudgery of life in a coal-mining town for the bright lights of Hollywood? Leonard Watts not only made it out, he made it big! Now his screenplay is nominated for an Academy Award - but Hollywood endings are reserved for movies, and running from the past won't prevent it from catching up. Sixteen-year-old Elia Chuaqui of El Cerrito, a junior at El Cerrito High School, directs this hilarious and heartbreaking play that skips across the swirl of memory.
The ensemble for each show is comprised of talented local teens:
· Orpheum features 15-year-old Ase' Bakari of Berkeley, a sophomore at Oakland School of the Arts; 14-year-old Alexandra Cartharis of Berkeley, a freshman at Oakland School of the Arts; 17-year-old Georgia Cartharis of Berkeley, a senior at Berkeley High; 17-year-old Jet Harper of Berkeley, a sophomore at Berkeley High; 17-year-old Emiko Rogers of Concord, a senior at Diablo Valley High School; and 17-year-old Geneva Rust-Orta of Oakland, a senior at Oakland Technical High School.
The cast for Story by Leonard Watts includes 17-year-old Gavin Beretvas of Oakland, a senior at Oakland Tech; 17-year-old Ryan Burbridge of Hayward, a senior at Leadership Public Schools - Hayward; 17-year-old Rocky Kamen-Rubio of Berkeley, a senior at Berkeley High; 15-year-old David Kaus of Berkeley, a sophomore at Berkeley High; 16-year-old Alexander Panagos of Berkeley, a sophomore at Berkeley High; and 18-year-old Zoey Wolinsky of El Cerrito, a senior at El Cerrito High.
The creative team for this year's Teen One-Acts Festival includes 15-year-old Eleanor Maples of Lafayette, a sophomore at Oakland School of the Arts, the scenic designer for Story by Leonard Watts; 17-year-old Tait Adams of Alameda, a junior at Encinal High School, the stage manager
for Orpheum; and seven student designers from Berkeley High. For Story by Leonard Watts,
17-year-old senior Georgia Cartharis of Berkeley designs costumes and 14-year-old freshman Fernando Serrano of Berkeley designs sound. Orpheum features scenery and video design by 17-year-old senior Oscar Peña of Berkeley, costume design by 18-year-old senior Louisa Pio of Berkeley, and sound design by 16-year-old sophomore Kathryn Gordon of Berkeley. Seventeen-year-old senior Mariah Johnson of Berkeley serves as make-up designer and wardrobe supervisor for both shows, and 16-year-old sophomore Margaret Reager of Berkeley assists lighting fellow Anthony Jannuzzi with the lighting design.