Backstage Action

What’s going on behind the scenes?


Season Wagner

Max Wohler and Jordan Schmidt practice their parts for the upcoming performance

You see them in the hallway and in class, you’re friends with some of them and recognize others as normal high school students. By day, they’re teenagers, living out their everyday lives. But after class when they hit the stage, everything changes. Suddenly, they’re taking on the faces, personalities, and lifestyles of completely different people. These are the drama kids, who work day in and day out to bring life to the words on a script. Together, they will create a story.

Senior Max Wohler says that the end goal of any production is to convey the message of the piece as best you can. “You want to reach out to the audience and touch them. Ultimately, you want them to walk away feeling changed for the better,” said Wohler. So what’s going on behind-the-scenes to reach this goal?

Rehearsals are after school and vary in length depending upon memorization issues and how many corrections and scene changes are made. As performances come closer, rehearsals are much longer. The cast has a lot of fun interacting with each other during rehearsal. Wohler says the most entertaining part of show business is “spicing up” the scenes by mixing things up a bit. On-stage interactions between characters can be very entertaining as well. Students love to laugh and joke around during their time spent together. But it isn’t all fun and games. One issue that cast members face is being overly chatty during rehearsal. “One of our main challenges is maintaining focus,” Wohler said.

Bringing stories and characters to life is no small task. Often, students have to do or say things they normally never would in order to portray the life and personality of people who differ from them. For instance, in “Our Town”, sophomores Jake French and Hallie Malsbury have to portray a realistic kissing scene. “It’s definitely a challenge we’ve faced throughout this process. We have to make it look real and there’s a big height difference between us,” said Malsbury.

Sophomore Nirvana Mendoza said that the only “drama behind the drama” that occurs is when cast members overstep their boundaries. French says that everything considered, there isn’t a lot of drama between cast members. “There’s the occasional bickering, but for the most part we all get along. We’re a family,” French said.

When most people watch a performance, they’re not thinking about anything besides what is happening on stage in front of them. However, for any production to be successful, there have to be people to manage the action behind-the-scenes. Junior Breanna Patterson has a significant role offstage as well as on.

Before every show, Patterson is busy managing the chaos backstage, calming nerves, touching up people’s makeup, making sure costumes are pinned up and ready to go, and ensuring that everyone is prepared to meet their cues. “At the same time, I’m going through my lines in my head,” Patterson said.

Memorizing lines is something that comes easily to her, so she does a lot with prompting to help other cast members if they get stuck and forget something. The cast and crew rely heavily on her to keep things running smoothly. “Sometimes people get restless and lose focus on the show, so cues and lines get fumbled. But Bre, as well as our student directors and myself help with picking them back up and pushing them on; reassuring them,” said Wohler.

On the day of a performance, nerves are running high as cast members prepare to transform the stage. They participate in warmups before the show to practice characterization and get good energy flowing to lessen anxiety. At the same time, cast members are going through their lines and cues over and over. “We’re all kind of crazy. We talk to walls sometimes,” said French.

This week was the final full week of rehearsals before the performance of Our Town on October 6th and 8th. “At rehearsals we’ve been going through all 3 acts with stage directions and seeing how well we can get through all our lines without scripts,” said Mendoza.

The cast has been working to ensure that when the lights come up on Tuesday night, they’ll give the audience a show they won’t soon forget.

Max Wohler and Jordan Schmidt practice their parts for the upcoming performance
Season Wagner
Max Wohler and Jordan Schmidt practice their parts for the upcoming performance