This award winning playwright has assembled a lot of fun and fast paced contempoary scripts in his career. We had looked at a couple of them over the years. This particular script took the idea of teaching the Greeks to whole new level.
We had a blast!
The Cast and Crew of the Greek Mythology Olympiaganza
This script was one of the funny ones we found when we started looking for a comedy the summer before the school year even started. Mr. Schaefer read 35 comedies and this was the only one that really made him laugh out loud while reading it...and it proved to be a great pick for the season.
We needed something very specific out of our comedy this year and they are tough to find. Our past comedies had really fallen into a pattern of style and our students were getting a lot of exposure to farce, dark comedy, and even some family friendly dramedies, but we hadn't anything that would be considered slapstick or "sketch" type comedy. This show definitely fit the bill. The runners up will have to wait for another year (shows like Harvey and The man Who came to Dinner will have their day on our stage in another season I'm sure).
All Photos in this blog page are provided by Meaghan Sullivan
as our department phographer of four years
and for the Yearbook.
We started right before our Winter Break with a one day round of auditions after school. It was really fun and we had a great turn out. The first part of the audition was a slection of wacky monolgues written by Mr. Schaefer. They were very weird and rather fiunny once the actors got their hands on them.
Our wack-o-doodle cast!
We watched each student perform a monologue and then we mad a cut and began to pair them up for short scenes taken from the play. It was very apparent who had the style of the piece and who didn't. The people who had the entire casting table laughing were the ones we cast in the show. Initially Mr. Schaefer only wanted 10 total but ended up putting 12 in the show because so many of the actors were being so ridiculous in the auditions. So much fun to watch!!!
The Casting Table
(consisted of the following)
Mr. Schaefer (Director)
Mrs. Romanowski (Co-Sponsor/Costumer)
Katy Nappier (Stage Manager)
Spencer Milford (Junior observer)
Laura Mitchler (Alumni)
Kate Arendes (Documentarian)
Gabbie crossed her eyes for quick laughs
from the casting table and got a part!
We are never happy to turn away so many people, but the show really needed to remain a tight ensemble to really work in our space. Two of the actors play themselves essentially, and everyone else takes on several roles each. All of the supporting ensemble has one character (some had two) that would carry a scene, so each actor had a scene where they could really shine on their own.
Working with these students was a true test of scheduling. Trying to get everyone in the same room is almost impossible these days. The students that get involved in our shows usually have many other things they are doing as well, and it takes a certain amount of flexibility and sometimes some really quick adjustments to the rehearsal plans to make it through the process. In the end, it always comes together beautifully!
Helen George, Liv Kohring and Brigit Carmody trying to figure out the rules!
We started with a read-through in Jan after returning from State Conferecne and then had a couple of weeks where we only met for one day a week to get blocking figured out. We took on several sets scenes at these first several rehearsals and just worked through some of the movement and characters. This is were we also got to do a bit of training with our "newbies" to the stage (stage directions, acting positions, scoring a script, improv, interp, games, warm-ups, etc.) We had several cast members who had never done anything like this before:)
Thomas and Eugene battle it out...but only one can remain standing!
Mr. Schaefer really wanted to keep the show to 2 hours and so we decided about 2 weeks out that we would not be doing a scene in the script. The playwright tells us in the script that we are free to cut waht we like, so we did and the cast felt a bit of relief. At that point they were in the heat of last minute memorization and trying to get as much comedy out of the scenes.
Technical Theater Class was ready for this one. They had just done Spndheim in the Fall and needed something lighter and with a bit more room to breath in the designwork. When we got back from Winter Break we immidately got started on the show and both tech classes did a read-through outloud in a circle. It took us about three days of class to get through the script, but it made us laugh and the ideas started churning.
We took notes as we read as to what we would need to build and what the play required as far as special effects, lighting, props, sound, costumes, and set goes. After we got finished reading the play we understood that it was very involved and was going to take at least two month to get it all done in time!
There were over a 100 hand props in this show and the organization of the props became the biggest techinical challenge for the backstage crew. We decided to give he actors a box of props for Act I and a box of props for Act II and they would swap boxes at intermisison so they could keep all of them straight.
On the front of the box we wrote all of the props that should be in the box and it was up to the actors to maintain order of their own boxes. It seemed to work out well.
Even with all the swords and other fun stuff to play with we managed to keep people from playing with them unless they were the actor who used them. We only had a couple of props go missing or not make it on stage and that's not too bad.
Thomas with "Man"
Some of the props needed for this show include: 10 swords, 35 Beanie Babies, A tommy gun, a sun, a torch, a plate of mashed potatoes, a lighning bolt, 5 different crowns, 2 phones, a spatula, a TV remote, a Starbucks cup, guns, wands, Wondertwin rings, books...etc.
The togas were the first thing we had to tackle and they weren't necessarily easy. Luckily we had a lot of help getting them made!
The Costume Design Crew
Sarah Drost (and her Mom)
Lilly Newsham and Erica Donermeyer also were our backstage dressers
and helped the cast with quick changes and hand-offs
With only 12 people in the cast we initially thought that this show was going to be a piece of cake, and that it wasn't going to take much effort on the technicians part to get it ready. We were wrong! The show was very intricate and required quite a bit of preparation. There was a lot of little things. The cotumes were one of those little things...
Mrs. Romanowski found a great pattern for the mens/womens Greek toga and so we started with that and any fabric we thought would work from the stock room. Luckily we had gotten a donation a year ago of white cotton canvas, and it worked great! We made all of the men's togas out of that material and Sarah Drost (student designer) went shopping with her mom for the fabric to make the female togas.
Eugene (as Man) and Helen (as Pandora) on "The Island of Lonely Single Woman"
The male togas were essentially large tunics and we added a sash and a braided belt to sinch them in. The female togas were dresses that we also added a sash and belt to sinch.
Brigit and Robbie Hannah (as Apollo) and Duncan (as Orpheus)
Then we added different colored sashes on top of the toga to show different changes in character for each actor in each scene. We also tons of accessories that essentially became props in a way. (We had hats, gloves, wings, capes, necklaces, glasses, wigs, muscles, chains,... etc)
Gabbie as Daedalus
The Lighting requirements of the show didn't require us to do much of anything as far as a hang and focus goes. We have a basic concert plot in the Little Theater and this allowed us to focus on other things. However, we did need our Light Board OP to come in to rehearsals very early to get the rhythem of the show figured out and because the show was cued manually by the operator and not programmed, it became a very difficult job.
Many thanks to Donald
for all his time and energy at the lightboard!!!
Donald Huston Light Operator for the 2013 Spring Play
The play called for many "comically" dramatic moments...and we were able to do full stage washes of Red, Blue and Green to help bring that cartoon feeling when needed. We had a full front wash for Left, Right and Center and upstage specials for the doorways. (These also worked for our lighting effects).
By the time the show opened Donald had perfected the lights and many audience members commented after the show at how impressed they were that the lighting seemed to follow the actors magically. Nice job Donald!
We had our hands full with the sound requirements as well and we were very lucky to have Jonah Schnell in the back of the theater on the laptop for this one. Every scene in Act I had sound cues and it kept him very busy. Act II got a bit lighter on the sound cues, but he still had to pay close attention cause they sneak up on you!
Jonah Schnell was our sound guy for this one
We had several odd cues to build, and the toughest were the "Superfriends" cues. The sound effects from that cartoon are 30+ years old and so we had to use Youtube and Audacity to record and splice the files for our purposes. It turned out great and the scene worked wonderfully. Very funny!
Jonah also had to collect music for some of the cues (Led Zepplin and Peter Gabriel tunes), and he had to get rain storm, lighting, trumpets, newsbroadcasting sounds, car traffic, etc.
Liv and Alan keeping it all rolling right along...
The other fun aspect of our production is that we had Alan Smith (Narrator #2) who also played the piano for many of the scenes to help add atmsphere to the action. This was a quick way to pump up the jokes. We almost had the cast provide a laughtrack to some of the scenes, but the show proved not to need them (the actual audience was laughing enough)
Alan is backstage playing the soap-operalike score on the piano as
Eugene and Helen fight over the "box"
THE SET DESIGN
The set was designed by the technical theater classes and it was one student in particular who's design eneded up coming to life on stage. We had over 30+ designs come out of the two classes and we had a gallery walk on stage with the classes, the cast, and the crews to look at the options and it was Sean Bailey's design that won the most votes. We didn't build his design exactly but it remained the inspiration throughout the build.
Sean Bailey's paper model of his set idea
We really wanted to use what we had in stock to complete the set, so we tried to pull out all the pieces from the loft in the Little Theater that we had from previous shows. We didn't buy any wood for this show, it was all remaining lumber from the last two years. Luckily it worked out and saved us some money.
The set is built in a little over two weeks time
and the painting begins!
Our Greek playground of sorts...definitely our wackiest set yet
The Set was extremely functional and provided lots of opportunity for the cast to make quick entrances from almost anywhere on stage. This was great for the moments when the entire cast had to rush the stage for a quick joke.
We were so fortunate to have two students take on the responsiblity of the house/lobby for this show, and it proved to be no easy task once we opened. This was a bit of an unusual run. We decided in the Fall to move the show to a TUES-FRI run to avoid competing with the accapella tournament in the Aud on the Sat night of our run. This was cool by us, and actually worked our alright when we look at our sales for the show.
Mel Umbaugh and Ryan Tumminelo (not pictured) ran the house
The first two nights of the run we had about 30 seats open, but Thurs and Friday night sold out. Friday night we actually had to turn away a small group of people cause we were full and couldn't seat anybody else. This was a first in a while. It is nice to sell out for a show occasionally and we hope this is a trend!
We loved the headshots for this show! The cast got very creative and by using the wightboard they drew symbols that told what character(s) they played.
Alan Smith (as Narrator #2)
Olivia Kohring (as Narrator #1)
The Trojan cheering section!
Liv and Alan were like oil and water the whole show, and boy was it funny!
"What if you were a Hydra?"
"You see Doctor! No Respect!" "....and he died. Go to bed!"
We had two winning poster designs from the technical Theater classes. Each one was selected by holding a gallery walk with the classes and the cast/crew. Everyone gets a vote. The two designers selected were Masen Minor's design (shown below) and Jessie Pinkner's.
The cast and crew
of the 2013 Spring play
encourage YOU to...
GO SEE A PLAY!!!