Lights… camera… and a family

MN's competitive one-act: an experience like no other

Kylie Smith, Staff Writer

“One-act, as an activity, sounds super cheesy and dumb, but there’s always a place for you in one-act. Everyone belongs,” senior Anish Renukunta said.

The one-act has given students a chance to thrive since it was started at MN and has been headed by director Matthew Eledge every year. Experiencing troubles last year competitively has given the group the momentum to improve this year, introducing “Ben Hur”, the play for this season.

“ ‘Ben Hur’ is a parody on a classic American story that was originally a book and then turned into a silent film that was very popular, and then turned into a play,” Eledge said.

Each year the one-act is different, building off of the previous year. They decided to try something new with “Ben Hur”, experimenting with a comedy with an underlying theme.  

“This year is more about hope and inspiration, but it certainly allows the kids to not take themselves so seriously and not take theater and art so seriously,” Eledge said.

The cast and crew of “Ben Hur” are excelling. They have won first place, as well as an award for sophomore Max Monahan for Best Male Actor in their first competition of the year on Nov. 3 in Norfolk.

Elise Fossler plays the part of Ben Hur’s mother and absolutely loves playing it.

“It’s unlike any other role I’ve gotten to play before,” Fossler said.

Most of her parts have been Disney Princess-like, and she loves the outrageous, different role she gets to play. She has been in two one-acts, including this year, and “Tarzan”.

Renukunta plays the role of Ben Hur. He started doing one-act halfway through last season, stepping in for a friend at a performance, and ended up falling in love with it. They got him a costume and welcomed him into the group like family, and he has loved doing one-act since then.

“I never felt like I belonged so much until I was in that type of situation,” Renukunta said. “They take you in no matter what, no matter who you are, where you came from. They’re that type of people.”

One-act gives students the chance to create lasting, impressionable relationships that help them grow as people.

“Eledge, to me, has been like an older brother, a friend, and a father figure all at the same time,” Renukunta said.

One-act gives people the opportunity to meet new people and has such a loving, family-like community unlike any other.

“We have two community performances, and are hosting districts on Saturday, Dec. 1, and will be performing at 1 pm here at MN, and so it would be awesome if we could get lots of people to create that fun environment,” Eledge said.