Unmasked and Backlash: The One Acts

Meghan Salinas, Associate Writer

Photo courtesy: Will Paul McDonald  Pictured, from left to right: Lois Hade (sophomore), Daniel Yilmaz (senior), Evan Hamlin (junior), DeAndra Watkins (sophomore) and Austin Smith (senior). 

Photo courtesy: Will Paul McDonald

Pictured, from left to right: Lois Hade (sophomore), Daniel Yilmaz (senior), Evan Hamlin (junior), DeAndra Watkins (sophomore) and Austin Smith (senior). 

For most college seniors, it’s that time of year where senioritis is barging through the door without any delay, but not for North Greenville University senior theatre majors Austin Smith and Taylor Whitmire.

Since September, both Smith and Whitmire have been diligently writing and directing their senior One Act plays. Both are excited about how the student body will react to their One Acts.

Smith has written his One Act play called “Unmasked” and will be performing a few songs from the Broadway Musical, “Dear Evan Hansen.” Smith said, “The story of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ follows a high school kid with a social anxiety disorder who gets caught up in these lies when he puts out a fabrication of being best friends with a guy who committed suicide.”

The theme that Smith is pulling from that is the act of hiding behind a mask to make yourself seem better.  He said, “It is going to be a lot deeper than what people are expecting of me; most of the student body has seen me in Improv shows and for the comedic stuff that I do.”

Smith owes it all to his senior seminar class last semester when he suddenly had a change in heart when spiritually and mentally wrestling with the idea of getting out of his comfort zone when coming up with his One Act theme. “Unmasked” is symbolizing his vulnerability and truth. Smith said, “I have to tell the audience who I truly am and not hide behind the mask of the guy who loves to make people laugh on stage.” Smith is in contact with a theatre in Michigan after graduation.

Whitmire is directing a One Act called “Backlash” written by Jonathan Sieberhagen which stars Lois Hade, Daniel Yilmaz, DeAndra Watkins and Evan Hamlin. She said, “We got to create these characters out of nothing which has been an amazing experience.”

“Backlash” is about a family who has gone through a trauma and the family is still trying to work through the families scars and wounds. Whitmire said, “There is at least one character in this One Act that anyone can relate to and can emphasize with."

With Whitmire’s knack for stage management, she has possible jobs lined up short term but long term she has a dream to do drama ministry overseas.

Both "Backlash" and "Unmasked" will run Feb. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. in Billingsley Theatre at NGU and the cost is $5. Come out and see what is in store. 

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