The Pony Express

Theatre department premiers ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner’

Seniors+Aurora+Hiveley+and+Isabella+Portelli+rehearse+in+the+auditorium%0Aon+Oct.+27+for+their+upcoming+play+performances.+
Seniors Aurora Hiveley and Isabella Portelli rehearse in the auditorium
on Oct. 27 for their upcoming play performances.

Seniors Aurora Hiveley and Isabella Portelli rehearse in the auditorium on Oct. 27 for their upcoming play performances.

Photo submitted by Elsa Persson

Photo submitted by Elsa Persson

Seniors Aurora Hiveley and Isabella Portelli rehearse in the auditorium on Oct. 27 for their upcoming play performances.

Taylor Lee, Distrubtion Reporter

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This year’s fall play is “The Man Who Came to Dinner”written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. It is a hilarious, light-hearted, romantic comedy starring some talented theatre students. Seniors Frank Madsen and Aurora Hiveley are the leads in the play.

The show’s director, theatrical coordinator and producer Grif Sadow, is excited to hold performances in the auditorium on Nov. 2-4, 8-10. This is the first “drawing room” comedy piece this group of theatre students have done, according to him.

“So far it has been great! Everyone is working hard and [are] fun to work with and [are] really funny,” Sadow said.

Madsen plays Sheridan Whiteside, an outrageous radio personality from the 1930s, who slips on a patch of ice and is house-bound in small town Ohio for a few weeks.

Madsen explained why he auditioned for the play, “It was a fun opportunity that I took advantage of. I’ve always enjoyed theatre and being in shows. Just being with the other cast members and rehearsing with them is super fun. Everyone’s energy is always peak when we’re in rehearsal.” 

Our satisfaction comes on opening night, when it’s done, and we get to see an audience coming to enjoy.”

— Brian McTeir

Hiveley plays Maggie Cutler, Whiteside’s down-to-earth, organized and introverted assistant. Hiveley mentioned that she wanted to be involved in theatre this year and she thought “The Man Who Came to Dinner” was the perfect and fun way to get involved.

“I’ve been doing theatre since junior high and I’ve always really enjoyed it. [The fall play] was the thing that I was really excited about doing,” Hiveley said. “It’s been a really fun time, even just rehearsing, because everybody’s been able to have so much fun doing it.”

Senior Isabella Portelli plays Mrs. Stanley, the mother of the house where Sheridan Whiteside finds himself bedridden. Mrs. Stanley tries to make everything perfect for the surprise celebrity guest and, of course, from that hilarity ensues. Portelli is versed in the spring musical, but mentioned that she has never participated in the fall play and wanted to be in it during her final year in high school.

“[Rehearsal is] just really enjoyable and the play itself is really funny and humorous. [The cast] just really have a fun time together,” Portelli said.

Fun, humor and detail are at the core of this production. The technical team poured their heart and soul into the set, props, costume designs, lights and sounds. The immaculate arches that appear on center stage were designed by the technical team themselves this year, something they have not done in the past.

“I’ve been doing tech for the shows since tenth grade. I like it a lot. I like all the behind the scenes work… We designed the set ourselves this year instead of hiring an outside person to design the set. So it’s been interesting to see it from having nothing on paper, to designing the set and having [a bit of the set] up on stage right now,” senior Anne Sullivan, a member of the technical team leaders, said.

Auditorium technician Brian McTier has worked on theatre productions for a few years. He oversees “everything technical”; lighting, sound, set design, getting the set built, props and he helps his team wherever he is needed.

“My team does all the set building, as you can tell, they’re all over the place,” McTier explained. “Our satisfaction comes on opening night, when it’s done, and we get to see an audience coming to enjoy.”

McTier’s student led team does most of the elbow-grease work, both during production and performances. He explained how parts of his team are finished before performances and some parts start on opening night.

“Me? I’m stuck here until the end,” McTier added in good humor.

Another crucial part of the production of the play is the cast itself. If the tech side of production is the backbone of the play, the cast is the muscles.

Sadow explained if it was difficult to cast the play, “Yes, extremely, ” He said. “We had three times the number of auditioners than we needed in the cast. Everyone did such a great job in auditions it was hard to make the final decision.”

However, it worked out in the end. All the interviewees agree that the play was superbly cast by Sadow. The natural chemistry that the cast interacts with each other is another reason “The Man Who Came to Dinner” proved to be a great show to see.

“All of the actors that are in parts that they are in are really good fits for it… everybody is really willing to play and try new things and get outside of their box and do things that are really out there and funny,” Hiveley added.

Altogether, “The Man Who Came to Dinner” is a delightful, holiday-themed play that will keep the entire audience laughing and smiling the whole time. The entire cast and crew would love to invite all students and families to come watch the play. They have worked extremely hard to bring the production from idea, to paper, to reality. It is worth it.

Advance ticket sales are available to be purchased here. 

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Taylor Lee, Distribution Reporter

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