In July, senior Arielle Ward wrote and directed an original piece for the Northern Virginia Theater Alliance One-Act Play Festival competition in Falls Church. Although Ward said she wrote the play on a whim, it wound up winning for best costuming and was nominated for best ensemble.
“I’ve written a bunch of one-acts for class and scenes,” Ward said. “I decided to have fun and just write something dumb that I didn’t really care about.”
Ward originally wrote it as a class assignment for Allegro, an arts school in Warrenton. However, when her teacher read it for the students, she urged Ward to submit it to the competition.
“She really liked it,” Ward said. “She thought it could do really well in the competition, so she got me registered and I went.”
The play, titled “Two’s Company,” is a story about two girls who show up at a comic convention wearing the same Harley Quinn outfit and then get into a fight about it. Ward, who also made some of the costumes showcased in the competition, said her inspiration came from previously attending many comic conventions.
“There’s a lot of people that will dress up as the same character,” Ward said. “One of the really popular characters is Harley Quinn, and I know that there’s going to be a lot more Harley Quinns since Suicide Squad just came out.”
Still relatively new to writing and directing, Ward said she did not expect to do well in the competition against 11 other acts, and was surprised to win.
“I was really shocked; I didn’t think I was going to win anything,” Ward said.“I’ve directed before, and I’ve written before, but I’ve never done something like this; I’ve never been so independent in my directing and acting, and I’ve never worked with such a big cast. I even had a few novice actors in it, and it was their first time. It was very exciting.”
Her act featured 11 actors, including junior Alyssa Gilmore and seniors Christopher Agey, Megan McCoy and Alex Craig. When directing your friends, it can be hard to maintain focus and a serious tone, Ward said.
“It’s really fun, but sometimes productivity doesn’t come as easy because they’re your friends and you want to share fun things with [them], but you have to stay with it and be diligent,” she said.
Ward said she wants to continue to act, direct and write in the performing arts, and that she was grateful for the opportunity to compete in the festival.
“Writing wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be,” Ward said. “And the theater community, even in the bigger cities, is still very comfortable and welcoming to new people.”
~alex wright, sports director