In The Spotlight

What You Don’t Know About High School Theatre

Madison Affourtit, Copy Editor

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With year-round shows ranging from ITS revues to big, splashy musicals, the Presentation theater program is one of the most active on campus. Yet very few students understand how much work it takes to put on a show.

In fact, theater members think that some students have never even seen one at all. Junior Gina Saglimbeni, a regular in Pres productions, says, “A lot of students only come to our shows if they get extra credit or if they know someone who’s in it.”

But even those who have seen a production don’t know what’s really involved.

Senior Emma Fontana has gotten the perspectives of being in the audience as well as on the tech crew. “Just watching it, you wouldn’t realize how much work actually goes into it. And doing tech, you can see everything going on behind the scenes.”

Senior Sidney Ovrom has also gotten a behind the scenes perspective through assistant directing at Bellarmine. “People have said that I don’t do anything and that I just sit there. Meanwhile, I take acting and blocking notes for the director, I set and strike the stage before and after rehearsal, I run warm ups and go and get props for the show.”

Through dance practice, voice rehearsals, blocking, acting, running lines, and building sets, theatre has become more than just a hobby for a lot of Presentation students. And the work doesn’t stop when they step off campus. Many students take voice and dance lessons outside of school to improve their performance.

Performers claimed to spend around 15-30 hours a week working on their shows. And Senior Hannah Franchetti points out that when they have rehearsals until 11 p.m., it’s hard to balance all of their responsibilities.

Senior Raziel Santos agrees: “I remember one day I had an essay due the next day and I had rehearsal so I had to write it during our small breaks.”

On the other hand, Juniors Saglimbeni and Meaghan Schapelhouman claim that their grades improve when they’re in a show. “Personally, I found that theatre motivates me to try harder and get my priorities straight,” Saglimbeni says.

Although students get so much out of performing, some people in their lives don’t feel that it’s a good use of their time.

Schapelhouman says, the responses she’s gotten regarding her career choice have been less than supportive. “People have told me that it’s a completely terrible idea. Parents of friends have told me that I’m going to be poor.”

Regardless of the happiness and confidence that performers get out of their art, it is not uncommon to be met with this type of opposition.

Presentation’s Performing Arts Director, Jim Houle says, “I was studying architecture for two years in college because that’s what my parents wanted me to do. And at the end of sophomore year, I decided that I was going to do what I wanted to do, so I changed my major and got my degree in two years. They weren’t very happy about it.”

Those involved in drama have also found that they’ve made most of their friends in this program. Stephens says, “The people are my favorite part about theatre because they’re welcoming and happy to do what they love.”

Saglimbeni agrees, asserting, “Everyone in the theatre loves what they do and they’re there because they want to be, not because they have to be.”

The performing arts program has brought so much to the lives of our Pres students, and they’re always looking for more to join the community. Saglimbeni laments, “There are so many amazing shows out there but people are never gonna see them because they don’t feel like they’re gonna benefit from them, unless it’s their grade or something.”

Whether you’re on stage, or bringing support from the audience, being involved in theatre can be an extremely rewarding experience. If Mr. Houle could change anything about the program, he says, “I would like more people in the community to know how excellent our performers are and how wonderfully prepared they are for our productions.” Franchetti agrees: “It pays off when people come see you and you’re just so proud of what you’ve done.”