Seniors in South Side High School’s theatre class stepped into leadership positions to put on a series of student-directed plays on Saturday and Monday that dazzled audiences and allowed students to experience putting on their own performances.
“There are faculty advisors, but we try not to get involved too much in the creative side,” said Pamela Seiderman, the high school’s theatre teacher and director. “We give advice and we give feedback and notes, but we’re really not there for the day-to-day operation.”
This year, senior Stephanie Rhodes produced the six plays that made up “South Side Night Live,” as about a dozen of her classmates acted as directors or designers on one of the one-act, 15-minute shows that the audience digested one after another.
The student-directed plays are done in addition to the faculty-directed fall play and spring musical, Seiderman said. This year’s plays included “The Rules of Comedy,” “How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying,” “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza,” “Appropriate Audience Behavior,” “Breaking Badly” and “The Actor’s Nightmare.” Each had different casts and crew, and together, about 130 students helped put on the production.
South Side students can take the theatre class for four years, and seniors are given the opportunities to lead the student-directed plays each year. “It really is about empowering the students to be leaders,” Seiderman said. “They often say that this is the most impactful event of their high school experience because they own it and they’re in charge and they’re given a lot of responsibility.
“I think they have more appreciation for what it takes to be a director,” she continued. “… It’s a good opportunity to realize that there’s other jobs out there besides being on stage and some kids get their first taste of that through student-directed plays.”