Recent afterschool visitors to the Toledo Early College High School might have had reason to pause if they heard the exchange between juniors Eireann Garcia and Chase Keeler.

That's because Miss Garcia was anxiously telling Mr. Keeler to get off his cell phone because they had setting up to do for play auditions while Mr. Keeler was loudly proclaiming the importance of said cell phone.

The two weren't really bickering though and were instead rehearsing for one of the four, one-act plays that were presented on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 in the auditorium at the University of Toledo's Scott Park Campus, 2225 Nebraska Ave.

The two students, rehearsing for a play called Bad Auditions by Bad Actors, are part of the ensemble cast that is tackling a variety of roles - including director stints - in one or more of the four short plays. Tied together by a common theme, Theatre by Numbers, the plays are called: The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time10 Ways to Avoid the Zombie Apocalypse; 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview and the aforementioned Bad Auditions by Bad Actors

Eric Pilcher, an English teacher now in his fourth year at both the school and as advisor for the yearly stage production. said he had been kicking around for awhile the idea of presenting a Night of One-Act Plays and felt this was the year to tackle the challenge (rather than one full-length production as the school has done in the past).

"The plays are always student-directed, and this year, we had several students who were kinda interested in directing but none who wanted to direct a full play alone," he said.

The process for picking the four plays started in October, when students perused websites that offer a variety of plays for purchase. The first chosen, not surprisingly, was 10 Ways to Avoid the Zombie Apocalypse. Director meetings started in November, auditions were held in January and the students have been busy ever since. They even gave up large chunks of their spring break to make sure they were ready for their two nights of performances.

This is the second year that sophomore Alyssa Schad has been involved in the school production.

"I like the performing aspect of it but I also like creating the play and working toward the final production," she said. Miss Schad, who hopes to major in English and creative writing in college, is co-directing the zombie play. She is also acting in The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time being directed by senior Gonzalo Casano.

Mr. Casano says he likes being involved with the school's annual production because he's "an overly dramatic person" so it's easy for him to be on a stage.

"I really like the one-act plays this year because multiple people can be in different plays," he said. "It's a little more fun for everyone."

Toledo Early College High School has roughly 250 students in grades 9 through 12, Mr. Pilcher said. That means that probably only about 20 students are involved in the plays, but they are dedicated to the extracurricular event, he said, especially those who have also appeared in University of Toledo productions.

"And because it's extracurricular, we tell them: grades are first," Mr. Pilcher said.

The plays were presented at 7 p.m. each night in the auditorium at the University of Toledo's Scott Park Campus, 2225 Nebraska Ave.

Updated on April 14, 2015