Theater gets rotten

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photo by Madi Denizard

Assistant Director Zoe Zachary helps cast rehearse by filling in for character of Shakespeare during song. Theatre students began rehearsals for “Something Rotten” on Jan. 5th and they will be ongoing until March 30th when the show opens.

One, two, three, four, junior Joelle Jackson repeats to herself as she goes over her scene backstage. Her brows are furrowed in concentration when one of her male castmates walks on stage in a dress and says “It might help me get into character if I were to wear dresses and hang out in taverns and flirt with men. You know… for research.” Everyone bursts into laughter and resets to try the scene again. 

For their spring musical, Purebred Productions will be performing  “Something Rotten,” a musical comedy following the story of brothers, Nick and Nigel, who struggle to find theatrical success when faced with William Shakespeare as their competitor. According to theater director Jaamal Solomon, Something Rotten is filled with big musical numbers and never-ending laughter, promising to be bigger than previous productions. 

The spring production was originally supposed to include Lake Howell’s drama department, with the two schools working together to produce the show. However, considering the distance between schools, it was decided it would be best if the show was only held by Hagerty. 

Like with most productions, cast members begin rehearsals sitting together and getting to know the rest of their castmates. They also do cold-reads of the script—going through it without looking at it beforehand and just getting a feel of how it’s supposed to play out. Jackson, who plays Shylock, spends a lot of time going over her lines by herself and with others to make sure she really knows them. 

“I like to just run through my lines dry, trying to get a feel for it and how I want to convey the character of Shylock. When it comes to memorization, repetition is a big thing for me so going over it by myself as well as others really helps,” Jackson said. 

Lily Joseph, Carter Wegman, Desiree Snell and Kenna Gay are just some of the cast members that are dedicating themselves to learning new skills such as tap dancing, in order to fully dive into their characters and roles. A choreographer comes in during rehearsals to help them with this. 

Alongside the cast, the crews spend their time finding different techniques to make the backstage aspects of the show run smoothly and efficiently. The show consists of costumes, props, set, lights and sound and publicity which are all student-run. Sophomore Rey Osgood, co-coordinator of the props crew, spends a lot of time going out of they’re way to find the best props that convey the story and add interesting visuals. 

“Props is somewhere where we can all come together to use our imaginations and add interesting pieces to the show. For this specific show, we are spending time building a lute for The Minstrel which is a big part of the character,” Osgood said. 

Rehearsals are after school Monday through Thursday until 5 p.m. along with some Saturday rehearsals and they will be ongoing until March 30 when the show opens. 

“My goal for both cast and crew is for them to be able to work seamlessly. This is a very large show with a lot of moving parts,” theater teacher Jaamal Solomon said. “Everyone needs to understand that but also do their job and let me worry about the big picture.”

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