ACHS Presents the One-Act Play Festival

Ethan Gotsch


The Alexandria City High School One-Act Play Festival is an annual competition between four student-directed one-act plays each under 35 minutes. The festival occurred over three showings: the first on Friday, January 14 at 7 PM, and the other two on Saturday, January 15, one at 2 PM and one at 7 PM. Four judges determined the winner of the competition, which went onto a local tournament at West Springfield High School on Saturday, January 29. The program is run by ACHS teachers Mrs. Hope Bachman and Ms. Leslie Jones.

(L-R) Naeem Scott and Fiona Stevens in Someday, photo courtesy of Charlotte Lisker

The first play shown was Someday, which was written and directed by ACHS sophomore Yahney-Marie Sangaré. The play tells the story of a lynching in a small southern town thirty years ago and the impact it has on the present-day community. A young African-American boy named Wilson (Naeem Scott) and a Caucasian girl named Phoebe (Fiona Stevens) plan to meet at a peach tree late at night as part of their ultimate plan to leave the town but are stopped by Phoebe’s father (John Lacey) who ambushes Wilson and hangs him from a peach tree. In the present day, Owen, a young boy who recently moved to the area (Gryphon Magnus) is then retold the story by Deja (Ariana Singleton), Wilson’s cousin. The play also features Jeneya Kamara in the role of Imani and Jalon Reed as Bennie, who are the parents of Wilson.

(L-R) Preston Goodin and Carrie Sample in The Couch, photo courtesy of Charlotte Lisker

The second play of the night was The Couch, written by T.C. Williams alum and current freshman at the University of California, Irvine Araceli Penoso, and directed by seniors Gillian Krupicka and Deven Sawkar. While The Couch is a four-act play, only the first act was performed for the One-Act Play Festival. The play follows the reclusive Dimitri Blue (Preston Goodin), who has been M.I.A. since going off to college, inviting his high school crush Vanessa Hernandez (Carrie Sample) over to help him decorate his new apartment. After Dimitri’s friend Alex (Deven Sawkar) helps Dimitri improve his conversational skills in hopes of courting Vanessa, she then comes over to plan a party at Dimitri’s now-redesigned apartment, inviting many of her friends such as the talkative and eccentric Joanna (Rachel Ross). At the party, Vanessa confronts Dimitri about why he seemingly disappeared for months and bailed out on going to prom with her. He then reveals that his mother died of cancer in his senior year of high school, causing him to become depressed and go into solitude. The two finally reconcile and share a dance to make up for the one missed at prom.

(L-R) Stuart Conrad and Annette Haynie in The Baloney, the Pickle, the Zombies, and Other Things I Hide From My Mother, photo courtesy of Charlotte Lisker

After a brief intermission, the festival resumed with the third play of the night, The Baloney, the Pickle, the Zombies, and Other Things I Hide From My Mother. The play was written by Virginia-based playwright Bradley Walton and was directed by seniors Erin Burns and Casey Jackson. The story follows Trina (Annette Haynie), a young girl who learns how to bring a piece of bologna to life and has to hide it from her mother (Angelina Martinez) and her particularly inquisitive younger sister Emma (Miranda Tonsetic). The piece of bologna, named Meyer (Stuart Conrad), then tries to help Trina achieve her task of reanimating corpses to create a cheap labor force and make a profit. As practice before tackling zombies, Trina tasks Meyer to bury through the trash can of her miserable older neighbor Mrs. Weaving (Neya Alper), where he finds a pickle but is spotted by Mrs. Weaving, who calls the police. A police officer (Quinn MacBride) then comes over to interrogate Trina before Meyer fatally hits him on the head with a frying pan. After reanimating the pickle, who they dub Vlad (Bennett Logan), Mrs. Weaving enters Trina’s house to investigate what is going on herself, which results in an angry Vlad chasing and killing his former owner.

(L-R) Preston Goodin, Abigail Gerstein, Keyon Harris, and Jeneya Kamara in Governing Alice, photo courtesy of Charlotte Lisker

The final play, entitled Governing Alice, was written by playwright C. Denby Swanson and directed by senior Sylvia Rahim and junior Jeffrey Brenchley. The play shows the events that unfold after Ethan (Claire Beekman), the valedictorian of the graduating class, attempts to rob a convenience store and is shot and killed in the process. Ethan’s rebellious younger sister and middle child, Alice (Abigail Gerstein), lashes out by vandalizing the wall of the convenience store, and the youngest sister, Izzy (Fiona Stevens), is blindsided and conflicted after looking at her older brother as a role model up until that point. Meanwhile, the principal (Erin Burns) and Ethan’s former English teacher (Preston Goodin) attempt to figure out how to address Ethan’s untimely death at the graduation and what to do about his valedictorian speech. At the end of the play, Alice interrupts the graduation ceremony by reading what her older brother would have said for his speech. Other cast members include Naeem Scott as convenience store owner Irvin, Felicity Hines as Sydney, the leader of the “Geek Chorus” student group, and members of the Geek Chorus Leila Abarca, Jade Brozich, Keyon Harris, Jeneya Kamara, and Jessica Tshipamba Okako.

Later that night, the four judges convened and ranked the plays. In first place was The Couch, followed by The Baloney, the Pickle, the Zombies, and Other Things I Hide From My Mother, then Someday, and finally Governing Alice. ACHS went on to perform at a competition at West Springfield High School on January 29, where The Couch competed against the plays of other local schools, and the top three highest-placing plays moved on to the regional tournament. Although ACHS did not place high enough to advance to the regional competition, Preston Goodin won an award for Best Actor and Carrie Sample was also nominated for an award for Best Actor.

Featured photo courtesy of Charlotte Lisker, (L-R) Felicity Hines, Jeneya Kamara, Jade Brozich, Keyon Harris, Preston Goodin, Naeem Scott, and Abigail Gerstein in Governing Alice