Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision Theatre Department to present six unique one-act plays

By Rob LeDonne

The theater department at Canyon Crest Academy has been buzzing with anticipation over its upcoming show dubbed “S’plantation,” which consists of six one-act plays written and directed by senior members of the school’s Conservatory Theater Department.

“It’s an exciting time for these students with all they’re accomplishing,” said Amy Blatt, the Envision Theatre coordinator and a drama teacher at Canyon Crest Academy. “We do this festival every May, and it’s very intensive. It gives the students directing experience, since the majority of the conservatory program is focused on acting training.”

The odd name, “S’Plantation,” is a nod to Carmel Valley’s Souplantation eatery. “I asked the six senior directors what they wanted to call the festival,” explained Blatt of the name’s origins. “They figured Souplantation was a hub of inspiration, since they’ve had many meetings and brainstorms there. So they ran with it.”

This year’s collection of one-act plays are each between 10 and 20 minutes long, and span multiple genres, including comedy, drama, experimental, musical, and even the existential. “Audiences should definitely look forward to a variety of diverse performances,” Blatt said. “Not one of the six one-acts are like another. The only common theme throughout all of them is that you’ll be entertained.”

The festival has been a work in progress throughout the year for the Envision Theatre Department at Canyon Crest Academy. Members started brainstorming ideas months ago, held auditions, and had nights of arduous rehearsals to fine-tune every moment. Actress Annika Patton, a sophomore at Canyon Crest, appears in senior Grace Condon’s play “Friendzoned Anonymous,” a comedic one-act that centers on a group of people who’ve been “friendzoned” (slang for the dreaded limbo period in between a friendship and relationship).

“I play a character named Ruth, who’s not getting the love she wants. As a result, she falls in love with a man who works at a donut shop,” explained Patton of the role, which Condon wrote with her in mind. “It’s very funny. As a student here, we have the opportunity to appear in the senior shows. I’ve known Grace since last year, and I feel really lucky to be in her one-act.”

Overall, Patton reports rehearsals have been going “great. We’ve been at it for about four weeks or so. It’s so much fun working with Grace; she’s a great director. We do a lot of improv exercises as well (during rehearsal), so it makes for some laugh-out-loud moments.”

Aside from “Friendzoned Anonymous,” other shows include Troy Lingelbach’s “Fingerpaint” (an experimental one-act about “human contact through the elements”); Ben Sutton’s capitalism musical “Down Wind and Out of Sight”; Jerrin Padre’s friendship dramedy “The Adventures of Finn and June”; Nicole Belinsky’s comedy “Maybe We Should Go”; and “It’s Nearly Finished” by Mark Steitz, “An existential exploration of the absurdity that would ensue as a result of apocalyptic desolation and the relationship dynamics that keep people together in dialogue.”

The overriding point to the one-act shows is to send graduating seniors off with one final taste of the camaraderie at the Canyon Crest theater department. Blatt estimates that most (if not all) of the students featured are going on to study various forms of entertainment at college in the fall.

“I’ve been observing the rehearsal process, doing rotations and seeing how they’re exploring and discovering how to become directors,” said Blatt. “From everything I’ve seen so far, I’m just really proud of them.”

The Canyon Crest Senior One-Act Festival “S’Plantation” takes place on May 23 and 24, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at CCA’s Black Box Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit