A theater festival about theater

April 24, 2007|by DANIELLE HIGGINS

A great pandemonium. What a perfect way to describe the process of putting on a high school theater production: Everything that can go wrong, does.

As South Hagerstown High School's advanced theater class prepares to present "The Play's the Thing" - a one-act play festival in which each of the plays delve into the world of theater - students experience many of the same situations as the characters they portray.

"The Great Pandemonium" by Pat Cook is one of the three comedies highlighted in "The Play's The Thing." "The Great Pandemonium" spotlights a director hovering close to the edge of madness as he attempts to run a technical rehearsal just before opening night.

The other two comedies, "Small Actors" by Stephen Gregg and "Next" by Rand Higbee, highlight the actors. "Next" is a comedy about the odd yet hilarious people who audition for shows, leaving the director bemused. "Small Actors" focuses on a young actress who tells her parents that she is playing the lead role in her high school's production of "Romeo and Juliet." In actuality, her role consists of only four words, but the results of her lie are hysterical.


The idea of a one-act play festival is new to South High's theater class, but the turmoil of producing a play is not. Senior Josh Jones, who plays the director in "The Great Pandemonium," says that each production goes through the same progression. There is always initial confusion as cast and crew scramble to learn lines and cues, buy and build props, find costumes and learn to work with each other.

Just trying to get all of the necessities for the production can be a struggle.

"It happens in every show," Jones said, referring to the disorder that is inextricably tied to theatrical productions.

"Everyone fights and tensions get high, but on opening night everyone and everything comes together perfectly. That family feeling the cast has after the show is over is better than anything else I've ever felt."

Junior Christen Logsdon plays Janet, the assistant director who carries out her duties like a drill sergeant in "The Great Pandemonium." She says that she never gets over the satisfaction of the completion of a show.

"We all came together and created something amazing," she says. So, despite memorizing lines, which many students believe to be the most difficult part of preparing for a production, eventually the show comes together.

Senior Ben Peterson plays Paul, the level-headed father in "Small Actors." He says that the festival will be "a lot of fun and it will keep you laughing in your seat."

If you go ...

WHAT: "The Play's the Thing," a festival of one-act plays

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26, and Friday, April 27

WHERE: South Hagerstown High School auditorium, 1101 S. Potomac St.

COST: $6; $5 for students; $20 for a family of two adults and two children

CONTACT:Call South High at 301-766-8369 or Keith Stokes at 301-739-7034.

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