Interview with Eliana Weiss and Emma Johnston
This week, justArts&Culture spoke with Eliana Weiss ’21 (left) and Emma Johnston ’22 (right), the co-producers of the Quickies.
JustArts&Culture: What is Quickies?
Eliana Weiss: Quickies is a short play festival that the UTC [Undergraduate Theater Collective] puts on in the spring. And students submit short plays, usually about 10 minutes long. And we have about 10, that’s the average in the show. Students apply to direct and we hold auditions and it’s open cast. We rehearse over two weeks. There is a rule that there are three hours of rehearsal [per play]. The idea is that we get to put on these short pieces of theater without a lot of rehearsal so it’s low commitment, high fun and low stress. It’s a great way for people to get involved in theater who might not have time to do a full show in their schedule or who don’t know a lot about theater and want a nice entry point. It’s also a great way for people to try directing or try writing. Then two weeks after auditions we have the show. ... We do tech during the day and then all 10 of the shows [perform] one right after the other.
JAC: What are your roles in Quickies?
Emma Johnston: We are coproducing Quickies, so essentially we have been working since last semester. We run the email. Students would send in their scripts and we read all the submissions, did a lot of deliberating and picked nine that we felt had a really good range. Then from that, we look at the director applications and we match up directors with scripts. Then from there, essentially we facilitate the rest of the process, so we are a resource to the directors. We’re present during auditions, helping cast and helping them find spaces. We schedule tech.
EW: We’re there on the day of the shows overseeing everything.
EJ: We get to see it all happen.
JAC: Had either of you been involved with Quickies before in previous years?
EJ: So last year, my first year, I auditioned and I was in two Quickies, very different Quickies. One was a devised piece and one was comedy, but it was so much fun. I got to work with some students that I had never worked with before or that I had worked with before and really wanted to work with again. The whole day of tech I got to see the work that everyone else had been doing and I think what really excited me my first time being in Quickies was how collaborative it was. As an actor you don’t always get that chance to collaborate, but Quickies is definitely the environment where you’re only rehearsing three hours, you’re all working together to put up a script, and it was nice to see how many of my ideas and the other actors’ ideas got into the final product.
EW: I definitely agree with that. I had a similar story. When I was a first year, I auditioned and I was in a Quickie. Similarly, it was really fun, I worked with new people and I really enjoyed just working on something for two weeks and seeing what could happen.
JAC: What are you most excited about for the performance?
EJ: I feel like this year in particular we have a lot of people that haven’t been as involved in UTC theater and a lot of directors that are trying directing for the first time. I’m very proud of them all and I’m very excited to see the work that they do and hopefully encourage them to continue directing and acting and being involved.
JAC: When is Quickies?
EW: It’s on Sunday, February 9 at 8 p.m. in the SCC theater. Come check it out!
— Caylie Jeruchimowitz