The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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Theater preparations in full swing as show approaches

Junior+Oliver+Huckaba+stains+a+smaller+stage+piece+that+will+connect+to+larger+similar+pieces.+These+will+be+walls+on+stage+to+add+depth+to+the+play.
William Balke
Junior Oliver Huckaba stains a smaller stage piece that will connect to larger similar pieces. These will be walls on stage to add depth to the play.

With sounds of drills whirring, actors singing, and musicians performing, the theater is in full swing to put on this year’s musical. They will be performing “Big Fish”, a show that the theater last performed three years ago. With preparations starting early in the school year, the cast and crew are hard at work to get the show ready by its opening day, January 18.

The show revolves around the character Edward Bloom being played by senior Finnegan Alexander, telling his fantastical stories to the audience and to the dismay of his son Will. Shows were cast in mid-October to allow the actors optimal time for preparing for their roles.

“It’s a really bizarre series of scenes, and it’s going to be very interesting to see this character come together,” Alexander said. “I get to portray him at three different points of his life, his youth, where we see him leaving town and meeting other characters in his own fantasy world. Then as a young father, and then later at the end of his life as he’s passing from cancer.”

There is a lot more that goes into putting on the musical beyond getting the actors ready. Theater director Matthew Humphrey has been pulling many strings behind the scenes for months in order to have the musical on schedule.

“The musical is an interesting process because you work on things here and there and then eventually when it’s time to put it all together, you have to figure out how to get through it and find what comes next,” Humphrey said. “Right now we’re working on some of the larger choral numbers, and luckily the actors that we’ve cast in some of the lead roles we can trust to make some good choices and do their own work with memorizing their lines and learning their songs.”

The music heard in the play is performed by a live orchestra at Bowie. Due to the show being performed in the new theater, and having a stage without an orchestra pit, the theater department has a creative way to keep the music live for the shows.

“The plan right now is to have the live orchestra in the old theater with a video and audio feed being cast into the new theater for our actors on stage to be able to follow along to,” Humphrey said. “It’s a long process involving a lot of climbing into the ceiling and running cables, so that’s what I’ve been doing recently.”

Tech theater has been hard at work creating the set for the musical with different teams within the class working on multiple projects in order to have every part of the set ready for opening day. Junior Oliver Huckaba has been in tech theater since his freshman year and is now helping with set building.

“I’ve been doing a lot of wood staining recently, we’re making these wall pieces to give the set some texture,” Huckaba said. “It’s mostly just a lot of cutting wood and piecing it all together but it can take three or four working together to get one of these done.”

In order to speed up the set progression, tech theater occasionally works over the weekend. These work days allow students to come in and help get anything that needs to be worked on finished so they can focus on other projects during actual class time.

“The Saturday work days are probably where the most gets done just because of us having more time to plan things out and get a project fully done in one day, instead of during the week just working on something between a few days,” Huckaba said. “Things have been coming along pretty well, there are things getting done everyday by a lot of different people, so I think that everything’s gonna be ready on time.”

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