Fall play diary '08: Time for tech week
Published: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 8:44pm
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8
Where: North Attic Playhouse
Tickets: $6 for adults; $5 for students, seniors, and children
Director: Barbara Ridenour (for cast and crew, see below)
Plot: Famed director Max Reinhardt films an adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for Warner Brothers in 1930s Hollywood. However, the real Puck and Oberon find themselves transported to the set, and when they are cast as themselves, chaos ensues. Characters in the play include such famed Hollywood figures as Jimmy Cagney, Dick Powell, Jack Warner, Joe E. Brown, and Louella Parsons. Infamous film censor Will Hays also figures in the plot.
A Comedy by Ken Ludwig
FALL PLAY 2008
- Directed by: Barbara Ridenour
- Performances: 7 p.m. Nov. 6,
7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 & 8, North Attic Playhouse
Three members of the Gargoyle staff — senior editor Lauren Piester and senior reporters Lor Sligar and Joy Shapley — will perform in this year's fall play, "Shakespeare in Hollywood." This week they will take us backstage to get a sense of what goes into putting on a school production. Joy Shapley gets things rolling with her account of the start of tech week.
I HAVE NEVER been involved in a play before, so when I arrived at Uni on Sunday for my first tech rehearsal ever I had no idea what to expect.
For those of you (like me) not quite up to date on theater lingo, "tech week" is the frantic last days before the first performance, when everything is supposed to come together.
Starting with Sunday, the cast spends five hours a day practicing their lines, struggling with their costumes, chasing each other around the stage, and generally being theatrical.
On Monday, everything seemed suddenly more real. The addition of costumes, lights, and sound made the entire production 10 times more dramatic and professional, which also happened to make me 10 times more nervous.
What if I screwed up somehow during the actual performance — came on stage wearing the wrong costume, maybe, or missed a cue? I don't have all that many lines to forget, but there are so many other things that could go wrong.
Fellow ensemble member and Warner "Brother" Lauren Piester assured me that everyone makes mistakes, and Sarah Lake-Rayburn, who plays Puck, regaled me with all sorts of hilarious stories from previous shows. It helped a little bit, but I am still nervous. With those intense stage lights shining in your eyes, it's hard to focus on performing.
There are definitely times when I wonder what I'm doing here. "You're an athlete," yells my brain. "You know how to run around chasing after round bouncy objects. What are you doing on stage with all these crazy people?" But then I remember that I'm crazy, too, and that answers the question.
In general, though, I think the show is going as planned. We're able to get through both acts in their entirety in one rehearsal. Almost everyone has their lines completely memorized, and there are certain scenes that are so well done that I laugh out loud every time I see them. It's exciting to think that we will finally be able to show off what we've been working on for the past month.
Part of being in theater is the freedom to act as ridiculous as possible. That's fun and all, but now is the time when we have to be serious and focus on bringing the production together. It's going to require a lot of stressful hours saying lines over and over in an attic hotter than Hades.
Hopefully by Friday, though, it will all be worth it.
FALL PLAY '08 CAST & CREW
- Louella Parsons — Lor Sligar (sr)
- Max Reinhardt — Rob Diehl (sr)
- Dick Powell — Ben Daniels (sr)
- Jack Warner — Zack Goldberg (jr)
- Daryl — Nish Nookala (sr)
- Lydia Lansing — Hannah Leskosky (sr)
- Oberon — Dillon Price (so)
- Puck — Sarah Lake-Rayburn (sr)
- Olivia Darnell — Anna Gooler (jr)
- Will Hays — Ethan Schiller (jr)
- Joe E. Brown — Ollie Goldbart (so)
- Jimmy Cagney — James Smith (sr)
- Ensemble — Adam Joseph (so), Rodney LeNoir (fr), Lauren Piester (sr), Joy Shapley (sr), Sierra Marcum (sr), Daniel Wilson (jr)
- Stage Manager — Tianna Pittenger (jr)
- Choreography — Karolina Kalbarczyk (sr)
- Lights and Sound — Natsuki Nakamura (sr)
"SHAKESPEARE IN HOLLYWOOD" AT A GLANCE
- Author: Ken Ludwig, an American playwright and theater director best known for his light comedies
- Premiere: Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the comedy debuted in 2003 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
- Awards: "Shakespeare in Hollywood" won the Helen Hayes Award for Best Play of the Year from the Washington Theatre Awards Society; Ludwig himself has been nominated for two Tony Awards and won a Laurence Olivier Award from the Society of London Theatre
- Synopsis: From Ken Ludwig's official site: "It's 1934, and Shakespeare's most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, have magically materialized on the Warner Bros. Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' Instantly smitten by the glitz and glamour of show biz, the two are ushered onto the silver screen to play (who else?) themselves. With a little help from a feisty flower, blonde bombshells, movie moguls, and arrogant 'asses' are tossed into loopy love triangles, with raucous results."