Northwest Horizons

More than just a play: What goes into a theater production

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You’ve just paid $5 to watch a play prepared and performed by your peers.  The lights dim, the music starts and suddenly the stage fills with actors and sets. You can see what’s directly in front of the stage, the actors reciting lines, the set, the music– but what goes on behind the curtains?

“We mostly have rehearsals three days a week, they’re about two hours long,” drama teacher Abby Turner said. “Typically speaking when we have musicals, they’re two and a half.”

Over 60 students are involved in the drama department’s upcoming play, “I Don’t Have A Clue,” which is set to be performed April 27-29.  These students build the sets, paint, practice and memorize lines and make the costumes. Several students are in one of Turner’s three drama classes, but most still to stay after school to get everything ready. 

Personally, I’ve been helping paint a lot of the sets, I’ve helped with the other building stuff, but the majority is just painting.”

— Chloe Beam

 

Chloe plays Carol Robinson and Stan Snively in the upcoming play, but she does a lot for the set and is in Turner’s third period.  Junior Harry Gordino also plays a big part in the production, in Turner’s fourth period.

“I mainly do construction of everything, and then when people screw up I fix their mistakes,” Gordino said. Gordino also plays Brian in addition to making the sets. It’s not only the students who do a lot to prepare, however; Turner does a lot to get these plays from the script to the stage.

“I put a lot of time into it; my husband and I like to go antique junk shopping, and so even though it’s fun, and we’re having a good time, I’m still looking for stuff for shows the whole time,” Turner said.

Over spring break, Turner started sewing curtains for the show. She says she also sews during her other creative writing classes.

Turner also find the plays to read with her classes in order to select one for production. For this play, she found a few and read through a couple with her classes.  They had to stay after school to read “I Don’t Have A Clue” due to weather complications.

Sometimes, mistakes happen during performances, too. Turner recalls an incident during “Charlotte’s Web” from 10 years ago.

“Someone skipped a line onstage to a different scene, and so the person backstage heard their cue line to enter so they went out and continued the mistake,”  Turner said. “What ended up happening was that Charlotte never actually laid her eggs, which is a huge plot point of the story. It was funny because the kids who were sitting in the audience were like, ‘Why didn’t Charlotte lay her eggs?’ and so, the students stationed out in the house with the kids, without missing a beat, were like, ‘She laid it, it’s just so small you can’t see it.’”

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More than just a play: What goes into a theater production