This year’s One-Act will leave you speechless


Dani Fraher, News Writer

This year’s One-Act play, American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown, is starting out masterfully, with one festival and multiple viewings for EHS students this Thursday already completed. The four-man show—or rather, three-man, one-woman—is tackling racial assumptions and the relationship between African Americans and police. 

One of the many things that make this year’s One-Act different from previous plays is the incredibly small cast. “Me and the three other guys here, we have a good vibe going,” says Kai Wilson, who plays Kendra Ellis-Connor, a black mother worried about her missing son. “I feel like with a smaller cast, you’re able to make stronger connections which in return helps the chemistry and scenes on stage which is the goal.” 

Another stark contrast to last year’s One-Act, She Kills Monsters, American Son is less comedy and more seriousness as explained by Kai. “The One-Act last year was very comical. There was just a lot more comedy and humor, and this one is very serious, and Kendra is very serious.”

“It’s been very hard to make it seem believable that my son is missing and I’m sitting here in a police station scared for his life,” Kai says. It was difficult for her to connect to Kendra when rehearsals first started since the character is a mother in her forties. Still, Kai holds Kendra in high esteem. “I feel like Kendra is a very strong, independent woman which is something I really admire, and given the circumstances, she’s holding herself together.”

Kai and her male counterparts, Nathan LoPresto, Eric Sorenson, and Nickolai Ayeni, aren’t alone in making American Son an artful production. They’re also accompanied by an integral tech crew and director Nancy Owzarek. 

Mrs. Owzarek’s choice for the One-Act isn’t new for only Eagan. American Son was produced on Broadway just a year ago and was highly successful. Mrs. Owzarek watched the Netflix adaptation, and was inspired. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is really good. This has potential for a One-Act.’ And I thought, ‘Mm, maybe I have the right people to do this play this year.’” The overall themes of racial identity and injustices also stood out to the adept director. “The play deals with a lot of assumptions about race, assumptions that we all make when we just look at a person and make judgments on them based on their race.”

“Even with my own family, being black, it’s stuff that we talk about,” Kai comments. “I like how it’s portraying a message to other people who aren’t black, like, ‘Hey, this is a nightmare that some of us live in, and it’s real.’”

The show debuts again this Wednesday, January 29th, 3:15 PM at Simley High School where chances of blowing its audience’s socks off are high. “I think good drama raises questions, so when people leave the theater, they’re discussing the play,” notes Mrs. Owzarek. “I love making the audience members question themselves. ‘When do I make assumptions about people based on their race?’” There is little doubt that this year’s One-Act will either leave people reflecting on themselves or leave them speechless