Starlight Theatre takes on the 1800s American Dream


Sumin KIm

The Starlight Theatre Company’s latest show took us all the back to the 1800’s.

Corinne Piorkowski, Entertainment Editor

Starlight Theater is currently working on its fall production called American Dream. The show has four staff directors, as well as numerous student-led assistants and managers. Specifically, Haymarket Eight is about racism and terrorism during the Haymarket Riots of 1886.

The American Dream shows reflect on ancient hate crimes and tragedies that are still evident in today’s society, and are used to bring awareness to it.

“It is an ongoing issue of segregation in our society that has sadly yet to diminish,” sophomore actress Sarah O’Leary said.

As this show and topic uses deep meanings that can be difficult for viewers to understand, actors must work their hardest to portray their characters correctly to the time period and emotion that the Haymarket Affair brought along in real life.

“I think by working with characterization to really understand what happened during the Haymarket riot will help us convey the story a lot better,” O’Leary said.

Preparing a show for performance is not an easy feat, and requires several different roles from students and staff to unify a specific topic.

“We make sure that everyone is adapting to their roles and responsibilities,” stage manager Tayah Savoy said. “We also make sure that the tech positions are running through their roles smoothly.”

The topic of Haymarket Eight and the other American Dream shows are carefully chosen by everyone involved to convey the aged, yet real events that took place in American society.

“It is super old, so I have to get in the old-timey mindset,” freshman actress Arabella Chairez said. “Even though it’s challenging, it’s always super fun.”

With that said, directors had to keep in mind the idea of making the events unique to Bowie’s theatre program, and creating special details and characters, while keeping the Haymarket Riot’s events accurate to history.

“We have been working on making scenes and defining characters during the time period to help us better portray our timely characters,” O’Leary said.

Creating a show requires collective teamwork and is completed with every theatre role being fulfilled.

“I think that everyone understands that in order to create a great performance, we must be compatible and connect with each other in every rehearsal,” Savoy said.

Although acting is the only thing audiences can physically see and critique, the backstage tech crew also plays an important role in assembling a performance.

“I love being backstage because it really showcases the compatibility in the range of skills within our students,” Savoy said. “Being able to be a part of the process that connects everyone together is a very humbling and knowledgeable experience.”

The topic of the Haymarket Eight, although touching, may cause controversy with viewers, which must be noted when the show is being prepared and performed.

“Haymarket Eight relates to how minorities in America are often convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, and how white people tend to try to play the victim,” O’Leary said. “This is very relevant in today’s society just as it once was.”

Conveying a show focus may also be a struggle for theatre staff, as each year’s topics change and are significant in a different and captivating way.

“There was a riot and bombing and minorities were immediately picked to have committed the crime when they showed no signs of suspicion,” Chairez said. “That segregation is still there today, even if people act like racism is completely gone.”

The cast and crew of Haymarket Eight must collaborate in order to form the image that they are trying to create. This includes lighting, sound systems, costumes, and acting.

“We’re all always there for rehearsals, pitching in ideas and giving all of our effort,” Chairez said. “This allows us to bring our show together for the people that want to watch us.”

Rehearsing for a show begins with an audition, which had to have been done prior to beginning any practices or scripts.

“For auditions, we were allowed to choose from monologues that were out in the hallway, but we did not get to choose which show we were [cast] in, so we must have been prepared for them all,” O’Leary said.

Rehearsal structures may change as show dates become closer, which requires even more focus from everyone involved.

“Closer to the performance, we will run on stage with lights and tech in order to reach our fullest potential,” Savoy said.

Overall, this year’s fall shows are intended to bring attention to issues in society that have been happening for centuries, according to the students and staff involved with creating a captivating show and displaying the message.

“The theatre community has proven to be a place of compassion and creativity that I would love to continue to learn and live in,” Savoy said.