Winter play to premiere tonight


Seniors Polina Kopeikin and Jess interact on stage for the All School Play, “One Man, Two Guvnors.” The pair played big roles in the performance and brought laughter to the audience. Photo by Corinne Farid

Ann Fitzmaurice

Tonight, tomorrow and Saturday RBHS will host its winter play One Man Two Guvnors with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and curtain rising at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. There will be an additional make-up snow date on Sunday, Feb. 17 in the case of bad weather. The show, written by Richard Bean and based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni tells the story of Francis, a man who tries to keep his employment to two different men a secret. In preparation for the play, senior Ashley Livingston attends rehearsal every night and tries to develop her character. Livingston also tries to spread the word about the play as much as possible.
“I generally wish the play got more attention, like announcements on the intercom or teachers telling their classes,” Livingston said. “Our posters [are up] which is great and the cast usually tries to tell their classes.”
With the show being on both Valentine’s Day and courtwarming, Livingston said she is a little worried about attendance. Jefferson Middle School drama director and RBHS co-director of the play Susan Edmondson said the scheduling of the winter play depended on a number of factors including extracurricular organization competitions or other productions tied to courses.
“Since this is the ‘all-school play,’ it was scheduled between the December play which is associated with the Advanced Acting class, and the musical theater and advanced theater student showcase in May, since some of the same students will be involved in both of those,” Edmondson said.
In order to prepare for the Winter play, students memorize their lines, review rehearsal notes, attend rehearsals for two to five hours a night as well as work with other RBHS staff for costuming, lighting and props. Freshman Leona Miller said she personally prepares for the play by practicing often and asking her friends to help her go over her lines.
“[In rehearsals] we warm up our voices and play a quick team building game then run the show,” Miller said.
During rehearsals, Edmondson said her main role was supporting theater director Holly Kerns’ vision and method of directing. During the audition process, Edmondson said both she and Kerns saw character traits they wanted to nurture as early as auditions, or coached the students to take their characters in a different direction.
“I believe Ms. Kerns provides students with a very structured environment and high expectations to become the character throughout the entire rehearsal process from early-on,” Edmondson said. “Even when there were minor adjustments, she expected the students to be in character as long as they were reading the characters’ lines, then later, once they were off book, she wanted them to really do everything like that character would, and I mean everything, from head to toe.”
As Kerns delivered her baby Feb. 3 and is on maternity leave, Edmondson took what she believed Kerns would want for the students, freedom to develop their characters and wove it into her directing. Since second semester began, the students involved in the winter play rehearsed four days a week and some Fridays after school, and five weeks ago the group began 9:30 p.m. rehearsals. This week, the performers adjusted their rehearsals to be every night from 5 to 10 p.m. until the premiere.
“My overall hopes are that we can bring in and entertain a lot of people especially [because the play] is a comedy this year,” Livingston said.