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The Quad

Why you SHOULD go to School Plays


I arrived on campus just as the sun was going down: the building illuminated with lights streaming toward the sky. I was in the middle of a crowd walking towards the entrance. I could feel the anticipation in the air. Everyone around me was murmuring with excitement like the anticipation before a big game. Only, this wasn’t a sporting event, I was at a Sacred Heart play.
Don’t stop reading though, because I’m going to convince you that attending a high school play is just as fun and worthwhile.
On my way in, I took a quick stop at the snack booth, an essential part to any school play, and quickly scanned the photos of the cast for any familiar faces. I proceeded through the doors, down the dark hallway, to find the once bare stage completely transformed into a new world. The set, the meticulous paint job, the multi chromatic lights, and the overall attention to detail blew me away. I sat wondering how this new world came to life.
According to the Technical Director of Performing Arts, Mr. Fred Eiras, planning for a school play starts up to a year in advance. In fact, Middle School Drama Director, Ms. Rachel Prouty, is already planning the plays for next school year. Prouty says the process starts with choosing a play that is a “good match for the students and beneficial for the community.” After they choose the story, they must assemble the right group of artists including choreographers, set designers, and sound and light engineers. Eiras is in charge of designing the sets themselves. This daunting task requires many mockup designs and countless meetings until he finally reaches a design that satisfies everyone. Finally, the production directors can begin to host auditions and work with students.
As the show began and the actors stepped out into the lights, I became entranced by their dazzling performances. Twenty students all danced with well rehearsed choreography, each step in perfect unison. Bookshelves, couches, and entire rooms were constantly shuffled on and off the stage. The actors, after reciting pages and pages of lines without a single pause, proceeded to launch into a spectacular song, hitting all of the high notes. My peers whom I know by day, were transformed this night into entirely different people. In reality, however, they weren’t just transformed that night: this show was the product of months and months of practice. According to Prouty, most participants in the play have practices two to four times a week, each two hours long, and as they approach opening night, the time commitment only gets more demanding. I learned from Eiras that the most recent play, Elf, had sixty five student actors, eighteen members of the tech crew, and twenty one students contributing to the construction of the set. For some actors, these performances are a primary focus of their time at SHP. Will Avina 24’, one of the most experienced actors in the program, shared that performing allows him to “impact others in a meaningful way” and “make a connection with both the audience and [his] fellow actors.” Avina, like everyone else in the devoted cast, put in time and effort at rehearsals and at home to perfect every last detail down to the inflection of his voice.
As the show progressed to the grand finale, the last song with all of the cast building to a crescendo, the lines blurred between story and reality. In just a few hours, I’d experienced the fullness of grief, love, betrayal, and compassion without ever having to leave my seat. At last, when the curtains rose for the last time, and the actors walked out to bow, I was filled with a sense of admiration for my fellow students, just as much as I’ve felt after a big SHP win on the field or court.
There are a lot of things I could’ve done on a Saturday night–hang out with friends, finish up some homework, watch a movie at home, but instead I chose to attend our school’s play and I don’t regret it in the slightest.

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