All hands on stage

Putting together the fall play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” took a lot of work, time and collaboration between several different teams

Students involved in the fall play work hard in their final dress rehearsal for “The Merry Wives of Windsor” on Nov. 1 in the Freshman Campus theater.

Tati Rubi, Staff Writer

Chaeyla Maldonado peaks through the curtains of the FC theater nervous for her first ever time on stage. The curtains open as the bright lights hit her. She smiles and starts her lines.

This year, MCHS’s fall play was  “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” a comedy written by William Shakespeare. The play is based on Falstaff, a man down on his luck, who decides to send identical letters to two women. They discover his plan and devise tricks to make a fool out of him.

The play was performed on November 3-5 in the Freshman Campus theater.

Andrew Hillier, French teacher and fall play director said, “I chose this play because I thought our troupe was ready for Shakespeare and I wanted something lighthearted with a large cast that would give the students lots of opportunities. It’s a great challenge for actors to get a modern audience to follow a Shakespearean story with their voices and bodies.”

The drama club rehearsed every day from 3-5 p.m. Hillier said that they initially started with tablework where they read through that day’s portion of the script, go into details about character motivation and general movement, and then they start practicing on stage.

Apryl Hanneman, the play’s technical director, stated, “The couple days before the play rehearsals can range from 6:30-7. Once we start doing hair and makeup and get fully dressed, we don’t start until 4:30.”

Hanneman says that the process of producing a play takes time and a lot of work. “It’s a lot, in the beginning they start with blocking,” she said. “That’s quicker and then as we get more in depth, our director gets more technical on what he wants, notes and everything. It definitely requires more time and energy towards the end to put it all together.”

From the actors to the backstage crew, each individual plays a huge role in making this year’s fall play. But backstage crew is “the oil in the machine,” Hillier stated. In many instances, the contributions of the crew outweigh those of the cast. They make everything run smoothly and without them  we wouldn’t have a show to see.

“Costumes crews make the costumes,” Hanneman said, “and then they also do hair and makeup. Props crew go to thrift stores and get all the necessary props and they make little tables backstage for all the props. Stage crew moves things on and off stage and then they’ve been helping paint the sets and everything. There’s also a student artistic director. That’s Alayna Majkrzak, she works with the actors and she does notes and helps them run lines which is important.”

Before auditions Hillier reads the show several times, reading for different things each time–props, costumes, lighting possibilities, etc. He’s thinking about what the characters should look like and act like.

When the auditions are held he sees who most closely matches that initial reading, while also looking at how they interact with the other actors. Hillier said he doesn’t think of it as choosing an actor for a part, but more as choosing a community of characters.

Chaelyah Maldonado, a lead actor in the play said, “To get into character, I do research on them, find another character on a TV show or movie that represents them in a small or big way, and try to internalize that character and transfer it into your acting. I read over the script once or twice and then after try to say it without looking at the script repetitively.”

When the play is over, Maldonado takes a bow with her crew and the audience starts clapping. She smiles feeling confident in her performance. She thinks of her entire crew and how she wouldn’t be her without them.