By Charlotte Suttee
Blithe Spirit– what an extravagant show! If you’ve been to earlier plays, you may notice how the cast size of the shows shrink as the year goes on. By the time this yearly Spring show rolled around, the number of students behind the production greatly outnumbered the people on stage.
Starting with who we do see on stage, we will venture behind each curtain behind the production to see who’s hard at work. Zach Magnuson (11) plays a witty novelist and husband who is haunted by the ghost of his first wife.
“All the tricks and jokes and humor that’s come out of putting so much work– It’s just really going to be a beautiful show.”
The enchanting production of Blithe Spirit was a hit thanks to all of its cast and crew blending their talents together almost seamlessly.
“As many people as there on stage putting in the work, there are just as many off working hard if not harder,” says Magnuson. “We have two stage managers and two prop managers and many people working the lights… I want to give a shoutout to Bella Baker.”
Working alongside senior Chris Yarbrough, freshman Isabella Baker has got an exclusive gig in the stage managing of the show. When the actors call for a line during rehearsal, she throws them the line. When they take too many steps one way across the stage, she’ll correct their course. She coordinates between the actors, the director, and the tech experts to make things run smoothly.
“Right now I’m helping Chris backstage to make sure all the light and sound cues are correct and to make sure everyone knows what they are doing,” says Baker.
Keeping a close eye on the entire show from the second-story light box to the left of the audience, a student cues all of the colors that splash on stage as well as the transitioning lights up and lights down. The illuminated set is assembled by cast and crew, led by senior Brady Nichols. He instructs students to move a wall here or rearrange there.
“There are safety restrictions and there are show restrictions like we don’t want the audience to see ‘this much,’” says Nichols, referring to the spaces behind stage at which the actors wait for their cue.
Stage managing, light cueing and set assembly requires a lot of focus, and paying attention to detail is the main concern of makeup artists, too. Students of Ms.Hardy’s Stage Makeup class are behind the ghoulishly fantastic looks of the cast.
“For Blithe Spirit a few of the characters are going to have old age,” says senior Lily Forest, an Advanced Stage Makeup student, “so we do a base and then shadows and highlights so they contrast and it makes them look like they have wrinkles from far away. And there are actually ghosts in this one– Ms.Hardy works with Mr.Hurst, the director, to see what kind of makeup they want and if they have the both ideas.”
This may be a first glance backstage for students not involved in these programs, but stagecraft, make up, and drama classes know each other well.
“I feel like to the general student body [non-actors] are a little underrepresented but we do a good job in our theater classes of appreciating everything that goes on behind the scene,” says Magnuson.
The play season comes to a close but not our appreciation for the hardworking students keeping performing arts alive at Jenks High School!