The New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Acting for Film department kicked off their Summer Series of Student Directed Plays with three amazing productions: Us & Them by David Campton, directed by Janey Nel (NYFA 1-Year Acting for Film) and mentored by instructor Mary Sala; In Love and Warcraft by Madhuri Shekar, directed by Elisa Nanty (NYFA alum) and mentored by Associate Chair of Acting, Anne Moore; and Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel, directed by Bita Arefnia (NYFA BFA Acting for Film) and mentored by instructor Cathy Giannone.
Us and Them is meaningful play that begins with two groups of wanderers looking for a place to settle. They agree to share and mark the line between their territories, then build a small wall. The wall is built higher and then still higher. Suspicion and mistrust grow to the point where the groups must inevitably explode in conflict. “I have learned so much about acting through this process,” says student director Janey Nel. “The message of the play was very important to me as I grew up in South Africa where racism is still very much an issue.”
In Love and Warcraft follows Evie Malone—gamer girl, college senior, and confirmed virgin—who has it all figured out. She not only does she command a top-ranked guild in Warcraft with her online boyfriend but also makes a little cash on the side writing love letters for people who’ve screwed up their relationships. Love is like Warcraft, after all—it’s all about strategies, game plans, and not taking stupid risks. “Wanting to put up a cheerful play for people to just unwind and laugh still came with its challenges,” says student director and NYFA alum Elisa Nanty about her experience. “But what got the team and I through it was learning to trust in ourselves, each other, and the process.
Dry Land is a play about unwanted pregnancy, female friendship, resiliency, and what happens in one high school locker room after everybody’s left. “I wanted to tell this story now because I believe it speaks to the time we’re living in,” says student director Bita Arefnia.