When met with lights filling a stage, actors performing and laughter echoing in the audience, efforts behind the production of a play can easily go unnoticed.
This year, the drama department will perform “Rumors” by Neil Simon: a murder-mystery comedy set in New York during the ‘80s where eight millionaires—four couples— go to their friends’ anniversary party, and the hosts are nowhere to be found.
The play will take place in the Jerry R. Knight Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16, 17, and 18. Tickets will cost $10 each. However, before the play can be performed for an audience, the department has put in a considerable amount of effort into perfecting the performance.
Director Alexandria Dickens said over the past month while working with the actors, she has made them memorize their lines earlier than usual to ensure that they can focus on the dynamic of the play and having everything go well together.
Dickens said, “I enjoy getting the opportunity to be the director of this play because I think it is a fun way to be a part of the theatrical process: not only through the acting but also the technical aspects of the play.”
Dickens said the production has a very talented cast this year and that the play, which has a different type of plot from others they have done recently, will contribute to the actors’ strengths.
Senior Kaya Wolf, who will play the character Chris Gorman said, “I’ve prepared by going to rehearsals regularly, creating an inspiration board and finding images that I think represent clothes she would wear, makeup, hairstyles, etc. I also practice my accent a lot.”
Wolf said, “It means so much to be a part of this show. I’ve been in two other shows before this and have done tech for almost every production since my freshman year. I love performing, so being a part of a show with a smaller cast, similar to my first show ‘Harvey,’ which I starred in during my sophomore year, means a lot to me.”
Acting isn’t the only aspect that contributes to a play: the tech department also has been preparing for the event.
Producer and tech director Todd Schaefer said, “Once we get rolling, it’s the same process, just a different story we tell every time so the variables change depending on what play or musical you are doing, but the process stays the same. That’s what I love about theater, is that you’ll never tell the same story twice.”
Schaefer is in charge of the tech crew and making sure the money is there to fund the play. He said, “Preparation for this one is getting it ready to go on the auditorium stage, the last time we did it was in the Little Theater, which is now torn down. We are trying to prepare for a bigger set, more room, and hopefully larger audiences.”
While the actors have been rehearsing for over a month already, tech work will begin shortly, which consists of the tech class and some after school students. Once tech is introduced, Schaefer said, “Everything will be about communication between us, the actors, the stage managers, and Mrs. Dickens.”
About what it means to be a part of producing the play, Schaefer said, “I’m going to turn 50 this year, and I have been doing theatre since I was in fourth grade, so I just live it and breath it. I love, love, love producing stories for an audience and comedies are the most fun because making an audience laugh is totally healing.”
This will be Arianna Peper’s first year on ECHO staff. She made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.