HFC Theatre concludes 2023-24 academic year with sold-out run of student-directed one-act plays

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Cast group shot.

The HFC Theatre department closed a very successful year with a sold-out, 2-night run of six student-directed one-act plays in late April.

Students in HFC Director of Theatre Dr. John Michael Sefel’s Directing chose plays from more than a century ago belonging to the Little Theatre Movement, a turn-of-the-century theatre era that fostered experimental centers for the dramatic arts, free from the standard production mechanisms that were used in prominent commercial theaters. In several large cities, including Detroit, theatre companies formed to produce more intimate, non-commercial, and reform-minded entertainment.


Reimagining and modernizing 6 one-act plays

HFC students updated plays from the Little Theatre Movement for modern audiences. These plays included:

A Matter of Husbands by Ferenc Molnár
Debuting in 1923, this one-act play was reimagined and directed by Loay El-Hennaoui.
Cast:

  • Nour Ajami: Samira (The Earnest Young Woman)
  • Malak Ajami: Sara (The Famous Actress)

The Intrusion (originally titled The Intruder) by Maurice Maeterlinck
Debuting in 1891, this one-act play was reimagined and directed by Marceles Amiri Simmons.
Cast:

  • Marceles Amiri Simmons: Peter
  • Logan Taro: Frank
  • Aaliyah Flint: Ruth
  • Chris Connolly: Paul

Overtones by Alice Gerstenberg
Debuting in 1916, this one-act play was reimagined and directed by Zuri Jamal.
Cast:

  • Zuri Jamal: Charlie
  • Esther Elkhoury: Charlotte
  • Sydney Lane: Savannah
  • Courtnee Pruitt: "Vannah"

Trifles by Susan Glaspell
Debuting in 1916, this one-act play was reimagined and directed by Courtnee Pruitt.
Cast:

  • Maxine Jones: Mrs. Hale
  • Estelle Marcum: Mrs. Peters
  • Christopher Connolly: County Attorney
  • Logan Taro: Mr. Hale
  • Kahrah Noel: Sheriff

Us (originally titled The People) by Susan Glaspell
Debuting in 1917, this one-act play was reimagined and directed by Faye Randall.
Cast:

  • Faye Randall: Young Adult
  • Genevieve Karawan: The Editor
  • Kourtney Collins: The Writer
  • Sydney Lane: The Graphic Designer

The Open Door by Alfred Sutro
Debuting in 1900, this one-act play was reimagined and directed by Kourtney Collins
Cast:

  • Caitlin Castle: Miley
  • Kat Peter: Tara

Laying a clear path for a bright future for theatre at HFC

This production of one-act plays is on the heels of HFC’s award-winning, sold-out original production of The Detroit Wall Project, which has earned recognition from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. Jamal and Lane were also nominated for the Irene Ryan Excellence in College Acting Scholarship for their work in The Detroit Wall Project.

It also follows last fall’s multi-lingual children’s musical Leo’s Big Day Out, which made its national onstage debut at HFC. This series of one-act plays marked the eighth theatre production since Sefel joined the HFC faculty at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year and the fifth featuring new, original work.

“I'm very proud of these students. This project was part theatre history, part playwriting, and part directing – and these students really gave it their all!” said Sefel. "The theatre program suffered a lot from the COVID-19 lockdowns and the loss of several long-standing leaders of the program, so it was an honor and a humbling experience to be hired at such a pivotal moment. It's taking a lot of rebuilding, but with each production, it really feels like we're laying a clear path for a bright future for theatre at HFC.”