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Student directors present annual Student Directed Showcase

SDS+directors+Haley+Keller+%2812%29%2C+Sameep+Mangat+%2812%29%2C+Anika+Banga+%2812%29+and+Jessica+Skinner+%2812%29+meet+with+their+casts+onstage+at+the+end+of+Saturday%27s+performances.+This+year%27s+SDS+was+presented+at+the+Blackford+theater+yesterday+and+today.
SDS directors Haley Keller (12), Sameep Mangat (12), Anika Banga (12) and Jessica Skinner (12) meet with their casts onstage at the end of Saturday's performances. This year's SDS was presented at the Blackford theater yesterday and today.

SDS directors Haley Keller (12), Sameep Mangat (12), Anika Banga (12) and Jessica Skinner (12) meet with their casts onstage at the end of Saturday's performances. This year's SDS was presented at the Blackford theater yesterday and today.

Sahana Srinivasan

Sahana Srinivasan

SDS directors Haley Keller (12), Sameep Mangat (12), Anika Banga (12) and Jessica Skinner (12) meet with their casts onstage at the end of Saturday's performances. This year's SDS was presented at the Blackford theater yesterday and today.

by Sahana Srinivasan, Winged Post Editor-in-Chief

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Seniors Anika Banga, Haley Keller, Sameep Mangat and Jessica Skinner presented their shows in the annual Student Directed Showcase (SDS) yesterday and today at the Blackford theater.

“[It was] the craziest but most rewarding experience of my entire life, and also [I liked the] power because I got to tell everyone what to do,” Anika, who directed “The Murderous Mansion of Mr. Uno,” said.

The approximately three-hour show opened with Jessica’s “Chamber Music,” an absurdist play featuring eight women in an asylum who think themselves great historical figures and try to preempt an anticipated attack from the men’s ward.

Anika’s show followed, a comical murder mystery in which the audience voted on which character committed the murder and then witnessed one of eleven possible endings.

“What I really wanted was for the show to be ensemble-based, meaning that there’s no leads and everyone is on stage all the time and everyone has a big part, because I like exploring relationships between really different people and how they interact with each other,” she said.

“Rabbit Hole,” directed by Sameep, was the only drama of the showcase and featured a family’s everyday life eight months after losing a child. Her choice of show was partially influenced by the SDS show she acted in as a freshman, “We Live Here,” which was directed by Madi Lang-Ree (‘15) and centered on a family dealing with the recent suicide of their daughter.

“We think it’s hard to be in shows––but when you look at it in comparison to directing, it’s a lot easier just because you’re only responsible for one person, and as a director you’re responsible for every single individual and it’s so hard to put it all together,” she said. “[I didn’t expect] the emotionally tolling aspect and how much it would require in terms of thinking, planning and preparing and how many essays we wrote and all of that.”

The last show––Haley’s comedy “The Imperfect Proposal”––chronicled a couple’s date in a park. The male lead Ben continuously attempts to propose to his girlfriend, but the pair is repeatedly interrupted.

“This was my first activity at Harker where I was primarily acting. It was kind of a spontaneous decision,” Alex Chen (12), who played a protester in the park, said. “One of the great things about working with a student director is that it’s super easy to talk to them, and they’re a lot more relaxed with their directorial style. They’ll let you improvise and play around with your character more.”

Sameep agreed that one of the most rewarding parts of directing was working with her actors.

“A lot of the times, what these actors have in terms of their vision is different from what you have in terms of a director, and so in order to coalesce the two and make sure both sides are happy, it’s interesting to work with one character and say, ‘this is what you want, but here’s what I’m thinking’ and see if you can find a way to integrate them,” she said.

Upcoming performing arts shows include the middle and upper school jazz ensembles’ and orchestras’ Winter Concert next Friday at 5 p.m. at De Anza Performing Arts Center and the upper school Choral Concert on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. in Nichols Atrium.

Cast members of Anika's show "The Murderous Mansion of Mr. Uno" prepare to take their final exit from stage. This was one of eleven possible endings that the audience chose from.

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Student directors present annual Student Directed Showcase