Since its inception 10 years ago, Berkeley Repertory Theatre's annual Teen One-Acts Festival has debuted 22 original works, engaged more than 300 teen artists, and delighted hundreds of enthusiastic audience members. Now, on its 10th anniversary, two new scripts join this impressive legacy of creativity during an evening of drama that ranges from the ditzy to the divine.
This year's winners are The Adoration by 16-year-old Emma Dudley of Berkeley, a junior at Berkeley High School, and The Inventors by 16-year-old Frances Maples of Lafayette, a junior at Acalanes High School. Mirroring Berkeley Rep's commitment to new work, the nonprofit's School of Theatre presents tomorrow's playwrights today. Over the past decade, the Teen One-Acts Festival has premiered 21 plays (and one film), which were entirely produced, written, directed, designed, and performed by local high-school students.
Relying on the talents of 26 youth from five local communities, this year's plays take the stage at 8:00 PM on March 30 and 31 and April 6 and 7; there will also be a special 2:00 PM matinee on March 31. All performances take place in Berkeley Rep's School of Theatre at 2071 Addison Street in downtown Berkeley. Tickets, available only at the door, are $10 for students and $15 for adults.
"We're proud that we can provide so much one-on-one mentoring for teens in our community," remarks Rachel Fink, director of the School of Theatre. "But honestly every year, we learn as much from the teens as they learn from us. This is such a wonderful laboratory for teamwork and leadership."
The Adoration by Emma Dudley is a satirical comedy about a dramatic battle for the ultimate crush: a male teacher at the local Catholic school for girls. As the annual Mother Mary Rita Mixer approaches, four students vow to win their history teacher's heart against all odds. Sierra Baggins of Berkeley, a 17-year-old senior at Berkeley High, directs the show; Tait Adams of Alameda, a 16-year-old sophomore at Encinal High School, serves as stage manager; and Emma Carlblom of Berkeley, an18-year-old senior at Berkeley High, acts as the production dramaturg.
Attempting to answer the eternal debate surrounding the origins of good and evil, The Inventors takes a poetic, imaginative look at the creation story. Frances Maples offers up an insightful fable of two brothers and the spark that separates light from darkness. The production team for The Inventors draws on three talented students from Berkeley High: the director is 16-year-old junior Georgia Cartharis of Berkeley; the stage manager is 17-year-old junior Bowen Bethards of Berkeley; and 17-year-old Odessa Cross of Berkeley serves as dramaturg.
The ensemble for each show is comprised of local teens:
The Adoration features 17-year-old MiLes Baxter of Alameda, a senior at Berkeley High; 17-year-old Tessa Corrie of Berkeley, a junior at Berkeley High; 17-year-old Emma Goodfield of Berkeley, a senior at Berkeley High; 17-year-old Greer Jansen of Berkeley, a senior at Berkeley High; 16-year-old Rocky Kamen-Rubio of Berkeley, a junior at Berkeley High; 15-year-old Colin Mooney of Orinda, a freshman at Miramonte High School; 16-year-old Emily Radler of Pleasant Hill, a junior at the Bentley School; and 17-year-old Genevieve Zimmerman of Berkeley, a junior at Berkeley High.
The cast for The Inventors includes 14-year-old Eleanor Maples of Lafayette, a freshman at Acalanes High; 15-year-old Samuel Shain of Orinda, a freshman at Miramonte High; and 16-year-old Gabriel Vergez of Berkeley, a junior at Maybeck High School.
This year's Teen One-Acts festival is produced by 16-year-old Madeleine Waters of Berkeley, a junior at Berkeley High. The creative team features five other teens from that school. Sixteen-year-old sophomore Oscar Peña of Berkeley designs scenery, 16-year-old sophomore Michaela Guzman of Berkeley designs lighting, and 17-year-old senior Rachel Harper of Berkeley designs sound. Sixteen year-old sophomore Miranda Taylor of Berkeley creates costumes for The Adoration, and 15-year-old junior Luisa Pio of Berkeley creates costumes for The Inventors.
To guide them toward a final product that is as polished and professional as possible, the teens have been paired with mentors from Berkeley Rep's fellowship program. This year's mentors include Elliott Ares, Akasha Atherton, Amy Bobeda, Mariko Conner, Kathryn Gucik, Mary Kay Hickox, Hana Kadoyama, Anya Kazimierski, Alling Langin, Hannah Lennett, Kathleen Martinelli, Julie McCormick, Shari McDonald, Gayle Riess, Benjamin Sandberg, Kyle Sircus, and Brandon Weinbrenner.