LOMBARD — Since her freshman year at Glenbard East High School, Hadley Hill has watched seniors in the drama department get selected to direct one-act plays. It's a privilege typically reserved for one senior each year. "Coming in as a freshman, I had seen the seniors who were directing, and it's a big deal," Hadley said.
East deviated slightly from tradition this year, selecting two seniors to direct their own one-act plays: Hadley, along with Daniella Mazzio, who led her play during the summer. Hadley's play, "Patient A," was show at the high school last week. Independent from oversight and supervision of teachers and staff, the play told the story of Kimberly Bergalis, who died in 1991 at the age of 23 after fighting a public battle with AIDS. The Bergalis story gained nationwide attention because she contracted the disease from her dentist.
"'Patient A' is a really stylized show," Hadley said. "There's a lot of time when the actors are speaking directly to the audience. It's more of storytelling than acting."
Three actors in the production also are seniors. Hadley said the first few rehearsals were tricky as she learned to navigate with the cast between the roles of peer and director.
"I was so nervous," she said. "They're very much on my same level. I got over that and they were really respectful that even though I'm a peer, I was the director."
Hadley's been involved in many of the plays at Glenbard East during her time there, and she prefers a role behind the scenes — either directing or working the lights and sound — as opposed to one on stage. "It's more nervous for me to watch people watch a show that I directed than to be on stage," she said. "It's my baby."
"Patient A" ran for two nights, March 13 and 14, and Hadley is happy with the way things turned out. There's nothing she would have done differently, she said.
Although she's done with this project, Hadley already is busy working on Glenbard East's spring production of "The Crucible," where she will work on the tech crew.
Hadley also looks forward to her end-of-the-year activities and graduation. Now that her directing project is complete, she's hoping to relax and catch up with friends.
"It's going to be nice to catch up on sleep and detox from the stress," she said.