Theatrical Showcase takes audiences on a Ride through Time


Junior Lexie Hayes prepares junior Bailey Long for the role of Lysistrata, which showcases Greek history. Image by Catie Polo

George Frey

From the Old Testament to the hair loving 1970s, Advanced Acting and Musical Theatre students managed to combine various choreography, songs and character dialogues and monologues to showcase various periods of human history.
The showcase itself was a pure celebration of the human experience and featured massively popular songs from musicals such as Hamilton and Hairspray to lesser-known excerpts from plays such as Steel Magnolias and the Norwegian play, A Doll’s House. Many scenes were even selected and directed by students themselves, with seniors Neve Johnston and Tamara Holliday at the helm of much of the showcase, alongside the main directors; Theatre Teacher Holly Kerns and Choir Teacher Mike Pierson.
“Our student directors looked through shows, picked them, and I managed to fill in the gaps in terms of time,” Kerns said. “The challenge especially in trying to encompass all of these time periods was around the quick costume changes. The changes themselves had to be huge and fast because, in a show like this, you can never have hair or costumes which remain the same.”
The costumes were as colorful as the characters which inhabited them, and along with the characters themselves, changed at every interval throughout the show.
“There was certainly a lot to do,” costuming director Victoria Mongillo said, “Each costume had to be authentic enough to represent the music. There were 416 costuming pieces for the show, not including wigs and shoes.”
For the actors, the showcase itself was a bonding experience, yet at the same time a massive whirlwind of shoes, wigs, clothes and blocking. The stage was constantly inhabited by actors, and backstage was an adrenaline rush of nervousness, combined with excitement.
“The show was full of emotions,” sophomore Michael Bledsoe said, “Because as a chorus member, or even a main character, you get to play so many different parts. Every piece is so different and amazing in the way that it’s never the same thing twice. I was everything from a hippy to a civil war soldier to William Shakespeare, and even a smokin’ bartender. I was able to experiment with so many characters and settings, it was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.”
With the backstage crew, the show was all about speed, even more so than other productions. Actors and set pieces would be changed and put back on stage in literally 30 seconds or less, and it was a test of human agility and skill.
“It was amazing to be able to see what went on backstage,” junior Lexie Hayes said, “But it was also a struggle to try and make quick changes fast. Velcro is a good thing to have because you can strap the actor in and they’ll be on their way. What’s best, however, is to listen to the actor and not move around a lot, then it’s as easy and quick as snapping your fingers to get them in, get them changed, and get them out.”
Something especially important in a play such as this was not only character work, also understanding the historical standards of how people would carry themselves.
“Throughout the rehearsal process we had to be able to get actors to think about how different people sounded during different times and moved differently,” Kerns said. “In preparing, I tried to give actors assignments in researching the various time periods and people which were showcased, it was definitely a research-heavy endeavor, yet a unique learning experience for our actors, as well as audience members.”