WGHS Drama presented Neil Simon's only farce Rumors as their first offering in Oct. Fall of 2014.
We had decided to make some changes in the season this year to switch things up a bit, and with the department spending more of it's time in the Little Theater we felt that a solid well known stage comedy like Rumors would be a good choice for the first show. It was.
Watch a montage of our show
by clicking on following link:
The audiences loved it, we sold out twice,
and had to add chairs.
We call that a success!
The process for selecting our cast was also done a little differently for this production. We had decided to do a Winter Play in Nov. as well, so the auditions for Rumors allowed us to also see actors for the second production at the same time. This show only had 10 actors needed to fill the parts, and the second show needed as many as 20-25, so we were allowed to pick the cast for Rumors first and then after we knew we had a solid cast, we then cast the second show (10 Ways to Survive The Zombie Apocalypse). Worked great.
The Auditions were held in the drama room and we had an amazing turn out. Over 50 students came out for the shows and we were able to use many of them in the two productions. It was a wonderful opportunity for the department to grow a bit with available parts for a lot of newer actors in the department. We have always treasured the newbies and getting fresh faces on the WG stages.
The casting table had some new faces as well. We of course had Mrs. R. and Mr. S., but we also had several new faces - Conner H. and Natalie C. (our stage managers)...
Conner (Asst. Stage Manager)
Natalie Cohen (Stage Manager)
It is always fun to see how the students hold up in the pressure and competition for parts.
In the end it is always very clear to the casting table as to who should get the parts.
The people who come in knowing the plot, the character and have even gone as far as reading the play first get so much further in their auditions (never fails). The students who got cast in a role for Rumors did very well in the auditions and had the casting table laughing out loud.
Emily Jackoway as Chris
Hannah Leatherbarrow as Claire
AKG as Cassie
Dennis Allen as Glenn
Edward Flynn as Ernie
Lilly Newsham as Cookie
Joey Azar as Lenny
Justin Comegys as Ken
Jacob Noce as Officer Welch
Kate Arendes as Officer Pudney
This was an amazing group and everyone was extremely dedicated to the show. It was a full length play with over a hundred pages. The schedule remained pretty tight, but the cast really worked hard to get the lines down as fast as they could.
We started rehearsals soon after auditions and we went right into blocking the show. The floor plans for the set had been designed by Mr. Schaefer so we could figure out the movement of the piece, but the frontal elevations were still to be designed by the 4th and 5th hour tech classes.
Jonah also helped direct Kate blocked several scenes
Allison helped keep the ship floating
This is not an easy show to block. The structure of the script, the highly confusing plot and all of the character's various backstories leaves a lot to be figured out by the production staff and cast. If we didn't think each moment through, the show could have ended up being a bunch of people sitting around and talking (very bad for farce). Mr. Simon gave us some stuff for the actors to do, but he leaves a lot open for interp. This was a blessing and a curse. We ran with it and tried to make a very physical show.
Because our stage is small and interior sets tend to fill the stage as well, we were required to really make use of every acting area we could. This worked out great in the end. The stage felt used, the actors moved all over it, and it was very energetic...perfect for a comedy!
The Technical Theater classes had to jump right in this semester due to the earlier placement of the show in the Fall. This was an interesting experiment and we learned a lot about season planning and production time needed for this type of show.
The floor plan for the set had been done over the last few weeks of summer and Mr.Schaefer brought that into the tech classes and they began designing the elevations and details.
We had to make some adjustments to the floor plan once we started to build due to some differences in our stock measurements. We got close to the design and it fit in the space pretty well, but it had some adjusted angles and we pulled somethings forward and had to move other things back. The window USL had to made at an angle to allow for House Right sight lines.
Andre Scott stayed after to help with the construction and deconstruction
The WG Little Theater has some definite limitations, but all in all we created a very cool modern interior for the actors to play on.
Once the set was standing we spent quite a bit of time creating the elegance of the interior by adding trim wood to whole set. Around the doorways, windows, chair rails, crown-molding, kick boards etc.
Lilly working on a rehearsal phone, so we didn't break our good one while the actors rehearsed
We also spent time during those two weeks designing the specific look for the scenic artists to complete after school hours. We unfortunately don't do any of the painting in class, but the tech classes did get a workshop on faux painting (marble specifically) and we did the column in class to demonstrate the process and technique of accomplishing that kind of look. It worked well for the stage picture to have some marble. Those kind of additions helped add some real elegance to the house.
The painting crew that stayed after rehearsal knocked out quite a bit of the painting in one night.
The script told us that we had to stay in a "white-ish" color scheme, and the furniture we had in stock (cause we were trying to avoid extra spending) was is various shades of light green. Some other pieces that we had in stock we knew we could paint white or light green. This allowed us to play in various shades on the color card.
Special Thanks to the 4th and 5th Hour Technical Theater classes for building this amazing set!
The only set dressings we shopped for were pillows, curtains and a box of tissues. The rest came from our fabulous storage room. Mr. Schaefer has put in many man hours keeping the stock organized and it has really helped us with saving money on several shows.
The costumes for this show came from our stock, a trip to good will, a trip to Walmart, and AKG going shopping for Cassie's dress at a resale store somewhere. We borrowed and we begged. We had the cast bring in some things (t-shirts, socks, shoes...etc) to help round out an outfit and some of the boys dressed themselves entirely.
Emily and Joey faking a laugh before someone comes in...
The jewelry came from Johnny Brocks, Mrs. R, Walmart, and from various members of the production staff and cast. This show's costume challenge was to try and suggest the 80's and also make the high schooler students look like really wealthy adults. Not always easy thing to pull off, but we did pretty well.
Everyone looked really sharp!
Ernie and Cookie have arrived! Ken tries to keep things under control
Glenn and Cassie just aren't communicating well this evening
Jonah Schnell wore many hats on this show
Lights were not easy on a set like this. There were lots of little spaces to hit with lights and the actors went everywhere on the set, so we had to avoide major shadows on people's faces. Jonah had his hands full being the lighting designer and operator. This is him (pictured above) during some last minute additional light hanging. He worked very hard to create some cool lighting and with the addition of some art deco wall sconces (originally designed for our production of Antigone) and some green-colored back lit stain glass, we achieved a very elegantly lit stage picture. Jonah is very good at asking friends for help and with a small crew you can accomplish a lot with lights. He was given some extra help from Alex White, Jacob Noce and Mr.Schaefer (and others)
The Tech classes also handle a good portion of the marketing for the show.
They spend class time designing in the lab for the posters. We print all of their designs and hang them around the school.
Some of the favorite poster designs out of the class were:
Katie Conley Nick Wylie John Moorehouse
The Tech Students hand draw the T-shirt stencil designs. The assignment is to create an appropriate original font that fits the theme and purpose of the show. Once the font is figured out they are required to incorporate images and symbols from the script. (Theme, plot, props used in the play etc.)
The method we use: First they drawn a series of possible designs (8 small drawings called thumbnails) and then they take their best ideas and drawn them into a rough draft.
Once approved they draw a clean "camera ready" final draft that is sharpie in black and finalized for printing. We take all of the completed designs into the rehearsal and the cast votes on their favorite design. Once selected the design goes to Mrs. Genevese to be silk-screened onto the T-shirts for the production staff to wear the week of the show. (The designer gets a free t-shirt)
T-shirt designed by the wonderfully talented Kate Arendes
There are always a couple of students always step out of the group in class and don't want to build the sets. They will be assigned the additonal PR work. The large scale PR materials we use every show take extra after school time and more detailing. This time we had two students do some banner work.
Kate Arendes also did the lettering for one of the larger paper banners we hung in the school.
Reilly Thompson hit it out of the part with this fabulous banner design that she completed for the senior entrance. It was slick and very well done. This definitely helped sell tickets to the show!
We are very lucky to have a school paper and sponsor that supports our work. Mr. Johnson not only attends all of our shows, but he also helps promote each and every last one of them. The ECHO has been a wonderful collaborator and co-marketer for our shows on campus. The ECHO provides us coverage on their weekely newscast, and by writing articles for our upcoming productions. Here is the article courtesy of the ECHO 2014 - written by a Tech Theater student in 4th hour.
We also used the poster that Claire Gilb designed to run in the ECHO as a flyer insert a week before the show opened. It works great when they line up like that. We had over 500 flyers printed as inserts in the school paper. Cheap and effective marketing.
This year we were very fortunate to have a student who wanted to do our house management and also decorate the lobby for the show. We have started to have the audience enter the WG Little Theater through the Preschool entrance to help with traffic flow and to allow the box office to manage he larger crowds easier.
Emma Dowling spent some of her free time putting together a fabulous lobby for our audience and it looked great!
The cast and crew display board was spectacular
Lilly Newsham's handy work on the chalkboard in the lobby
The tech crew for this show was made up of students who had done shows with us in the past and came into the production with some experience. That helps when the show gets into hell week. The crew really brought it and the show went off without a hitch.
Jonah Schnell……………………….Asst. Director
Kate Arendes………………………….Asst. Director
Allison O’Brien……………………….Jack Of All Trades
Natalie & Connor Hanneken ….Stage Managers
Maggie O'brien……………………Extra Hand in Rehearsals
Jonah Schnell………..…………..Light Design/Op
Maddy Toskin……………………………..Sound Op
4th and 5th Hour Tech……………Scenic Design
Micah Wilson and Erin Stanton…Hair/Make-up Design
Emma Dowling………………………..House Mgr.
Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Romanowski……CostumesAllison O’Brien……………….Costume Mistress
The showed opened to great audiences and the cast and crew had a great time. It always goes by so fast, and all of the work put into making the productions comes together in the end.
Lilly posing with some of our ushers
Allison putting her hands up backstage, Kate is not playing games...this show is running!
We are proud of the hard work put in by so many students. Without the dedication to the big picture, we would never be able to achieve these kind of productions at a high school. The WG Drama Department is also very lucky to have such a dedicated and supportive community of friends, staff, parents and relatives that come out for live theater. Without them we would not have a reason to work so hard.
Debbie Genovese for the T-Shirts, Maureen Cashel for being our copying GODDESS, Caitlin Rambo for being our ticket counter for pre-sales, The ECHO for their services/stories about the department and this show, The WGHS Admin for being there for us, Mrs. Arendes for all of the snacks during rehearsals and helping with our fundraising, Claire Gilb for her design work, Allison O’Brien for all her extra efforts, Mrs. Newsham for the McDonalds, Emma Dowling for the lobby design, and to all of the various Tech and Drama students who came in after school hours to help work on this cool set.
The cast and crew of Rumors says...
GO SEE A PLAY!!!