This piece was originally posted on "The Blaize", the student news site of Round Lake High School. This piece was written by Blaize staff writer (and "Middletown" stage manager) Mya Figueroa.
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For some people, self–expression is a way to show their true colors. For theater kids, on the other hand, self–expression comes from taking on a whole new personality and breaking the boundaries of just being limited to one person. For other theater kids, expression comes from working behind the scenes to create a fantastic show.
Recently Round Lake High School hosted their annual fall play on Nov. 17-19. This year RLHS performed “Middletown” by Will Eno. The play was directed by teachers- Justin Charles and Patrick McGuire. “Middletown” is an emotional new play that explores the depths of a small American town. The play follows old–time resident John Dodge- (played by Senior- Tony Roovetuso), who befriends Mary Swanson- (played by Sophomore Tabi Wozniak) after she moves to Middletown. Their interactions are spaced between glimpses of the lives of other Middletown residents, featuring The Cop played by Paul Lew, The Mechanic played by Ruben Pacheco, The Librarian played by Kayla Rude, Tour Guide/Aunt/Attendant 2 played by Veronica Leister, Woman on a date/Female doctor played by Julia Truszkiewicz, Greg (astronaut)/Male doctor/Man on a date played by Colby Flade, Male tourists/Freelancer played by Cris Maravilla, Female tourists/Attendant played by Ariana Hierzer, Landscaper/Ground Control/Janitor played by Ivy Moore, and Public Speaker/Sweetheart played by Hannah Jewitt. The audience can experience a journey that takes them from the simple surroundings of a library to vast outer space. The play allows students to better understand what it means to be stuck in the middle point of life when people often have trouble finding themselves.
For theater kids, the attraction to theater doesn’t just come from acting, it’s about portraying a story and meeting incredible new people along the way.“ Theater is a very tight-nit place,” said Senior Paul Lew “Everyone here is loved and everyone has fun. It’s always important to enjoy yourself.” Lew explained that theater has given him an opportunity to come out of his shell and learn more about different people through the character he recently portrayed. “He’s very basic, but also complex at the same time. Basic on the surface in the sense that he’s just a cop that can get aggressive sometimes. Once you dig deeper below the surface, you see a guy that is lost and is trying to figure out how to handle his emotions after a really big loss.” said Lew. For theater kids, it’s important to portray their character successfully in order to convey the meaning of the play. And as great of a job the cast did with the play, the cast is not the only aspect of theater.
The theater program wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the aid of theater crew. The theater crew is a group of students who work diligently to prepare for the show by building a set. Theater crew consists of many different, smaller groups that help collect props and costumes, constructing the set, work the lights and sound, and move props and scenery between scene changes. Each group was under the management of directors Charles and McGuire along with Senior Mya Figueroa, the stage manager. The stage manager helps oversee that the production process of the play runs smoothly. While theater crew may be hidden from time to time, they still know how to have a blast.
“ I like it here because there are people here that I like to work with,” said Sophomore John Lew. “I enjoy doing lighting. I just think it’s fun in all honesty. Each little light cue all adds up to one finished project and it’s nice to know that people are enjoying the finished project.” Much like John Lew, those involved in theater enjoy sharing their final product. “Performing and being part of crew is a lot of fun. I’ve been involved in both, and it makes me really happy when we put on a successful show.” said Senior Kristal Angeles, who was the costume manager and also took part in the stage construction. “It’s great when all of the long hours and hard work gets paid off.” A lot of time was invested from both cast and crew when it came to preparing for “Middletown”.
In order to perform to the best of everyone’s abilities, a lot of hours were committed to the production. The cast had practice everyday after school for approximately two-and-a-half months. While crew had to come in every Saturday from 10 a.m.-3p.m. in order to build the set and prepare any costumes or props.
The set of “Middletown” consisted of a white picket fence, three house frames with a light hanging from the middle of each house, two yellow and gray moveable houses (made by construction crew), a bench, theater seats, a monument (made by construction crew), kitchen sink, and two hospital beds. One of the hospital beds was real while the other was made by Seniors, Julia Rodkey and Mya Figueroa. For many of the cast and crew members the set was fun to work with.
If there is one person that is the happiest with the production, it’s director McGuire. “Though it was a difficult show, I think the cast did a great job rising to the challenge,” says McGuire, “It was great to see our veterans and new performers working together so well.”
Overall, for majority of the theater kids, performing in “Middletown” has been the highlight of their first semester. “I really enjoyed being a part of the play,” said Freshman Colby Flade, “I can’t wait to be a part of more plays and musicals in the future! I’ve become part of a family.”