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Photos courtesy of Rose Saban
Cast of "Nothing" bow after performance

Senior Spotlight Show : ” Nothing”

A student written, directed production

May 4, 2018

Seven students. One game night. Two questions: how are they all dying one by one? And, who is the murderer?

Nothing,” a comedy murder mystery, was the first completely student-run production at Oak Park High School as it was written, directed and ultimately produced only by students. The production was written by senior Paloma Cortés Martínez and alumnus Sohrob Keynejad. Cortés Martínez also directed the play.

“My co-writer Sohrob Keynejad wanted to create something, whether it was a play or a movie, because we both really like murder mysteries and comedies and we’re like ‘how cool would it be if we combined both of those things into one?’” Cortés Martínez said.

Freshman Atlee Phillips mentioned that having Cortés Martínez, a senior and friend, direct the play has made the experience more personal.

“Everyone on cast has been really sweet and I’ve gotten closer to all of them due to [there] being such a small cast,” Phillips wrote. “It’s sad that they aren’t going to be here next year, but I’m glad I can be with them in their last high school production.”

Current sophomore Jacob Melton thought that Cortés Martínez set a great example for aspiring writers and directors.

“I find [having a completely student-run show] really cool,” Melton said. “I love the idea that students are willing to actually put their work out there and be open to discretion or anyone’s views or anything like that. I think Paloma took a big leap there and that’s really impressive.”

Junior Emma Wachsmith participated in roughly four productions at OPHS, but this is her first time acting in a completely student-run play.

“It’s an interesting experience seeing that I’m the only person that’s ever played this character, so it’s basically my portrayal of Jess and my interpretation,” Wachsmith said. “It’s pretty rad.”

Drama advisor Allan Hunt has been overseeing the process of putting on the show but has kept his distance in order to allow Cortés Martínez to fully direct the show. He mentioned that regardless of the fact that students were now in charge of other students, the atmosphere is very professional.

“Nobody says, ‘who told you you could direct a show,’ or anything like that,” Hunt said. “They’re respectful and they’re trying everything Paloma [Cortés Martínez] is giving them to do and that’s all you can ask for in them.”

Senior Joel Fischer described that he feels as if he went “full circle” as he ends his high school drama career playing Peter in “Nothing.”

“It definitely is sad that it’s is my last show at Oak Park, but I’m actually really happy ending the year off with this play because it’s personally one of my big[est] roles that I’ve ever played, so I think that’s really exciting,” Fischer said. “I remember auditioning for a show my freshman year and I didn’t get in and now here I am as a senior and my last show and I’m one of the bigger parts.”

Cortés Martínez’s drama experience has gone full circle too, considering the fact that her first production on crew was the senior spotlight two years ago.

“I just love [the senior spotlight production] because it’s a way to show everyone at school and people that come that students matter and students like theater and all these things. And, it’s so cool to see everyone [and] the passion they put in and see it’s all student run,” Cortés Martínez said. “It’s harder than it looks — it’s super fun.”

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