The drama program at MC, also known as “Theatre at the Mount,” has been performing for the MC community for many years. Ranging from vivid musicals such as “West Side Story” and “Les Miserables,” to meaningful plays like “Humbletown.”
Currently, “Theatre at the Mount” is performing the play “Our Town.” Written in 1938 by Thornton Wilder, the play focuses on the life of two teenagers that fall in love, get married, and (spoiler alert) die in the end. The many actors, set designers, technicians, and other drama participants have been working tirelessly to put on the MC theatre’s first show in two years.
While only the cast members are seen on the big stage, getting those individuals to that point takes immense effort from numerous other participants. Although actors seem to be the main part of what viewers see, there is an entire crew on the inside to make everything run smoothly.
One of the assistant directors, Jacob Holmes, provides an insight into what working on the play is like. Originally, Holmes planned on being an actor in the play, but decided to try his hand at assistant directing instead to see what it was like.
“I do whatever the director needs me to do, and I, obviously, helped direct some of the scenes. […] There’s a lot of taking notes and reading for people when they forget their lines,” Holmes said.
From rehearsals consisting of just reading lines to actually performing on stage, the role of the actors differs from that of those working backstage.
The main character in the play, George Gibbs, is played by Ilya Shimanskiy, a junior at MC. Although “Our Town” is Shimanskiy’s first performance at MC, Shimanskiy has past experience with theatre, participating in a local Russian play program.
“I do this Russian theatre club, it’s a local thing […] Every year, they do a bunch of plays and musicals, and they’re completely in Russian. It’s completely different than how they do it here [at MC] so it’s cool to see how it works here,” Shimanskiy said.
As an actor, one must have dedication to the play. Actors have to attend rehearsal five out of seven days of the week, ranging from two to four hours in length. Long rehearsals combined with a short preparation period before taking the stage created a lot of stress for the drama department.
“We were very limited on time, every rehearsal we were going to have outside was always canceled due to weather or some other condition. It is a little stressful to think about […] it’s tiring. I think I fell asleep at 12:20 am, trying to get gel out of my hair,” Shimanskiy said.
The play is a student-run production, meaning that students were in charge of practically every aspect of the performance. Students behind-the-scenes, also referred to as the tech production crew, have various jobs they must fulfill. Some of these tasks include setting up the stage, controlling the sound and lighting, helping with hair and makeup, and other activities.
Sami Smith, the lighting designer for the play, would have rehearsals with the actors, but the time commitment was much larger.
“I would stay directly after school until about five. During tech week, I would stay until 11,” Smith said.
Everyone involved in the play has put in a tremendous amount of effort to create a successful production. Although actors are the part that people lay their eyes upon, there are many more components as to what a play needs to succeed.
Theatre at the Mount will be performing “Our Town” for three nights, October 21, 22, and 23rd. The show starts at 7:00 pm and ends at 9:00 pm. Tickets are eight dollars for students at MC, 12 dollars for anyone else. All the information can be found on @mchs.drama on Instagram.