HB represents in local theatre festival
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HB theatre students performed Saturday, March 11 at The New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild’s 45th Annual One-Act Play Festival at Bow High School. The cast and crew adapted and performed a short play, titled Alphabeticastle. Written with a quirky bro-dynamic, the play follows a wizard, a knight, and a page who explore a booby-trapped castle.
Humorously, Aaron Velez ‘17 played the part of the princess. Like many of the actors, he played a character of the opposite gender– Lauren Moura ‘17, Paige Gionet ‘17, and Abby Rogers ‘17 filled the leading three male roles. Velez’s costume included a massive blonde wig and pink dress. “I just had to be as feminine as possible,” he explained. He said that he didn’t volunteer to take such an ironic part, but instead was ‘volun-told.’ “I didn’t decide to take the role,” Velez said, “Mr. Parker came up to me and said, ‘You wanna be the princess?’ and I [said], ‘Sure!’ knowing that, well, I didn’t want to or couldn’t say much else. I loved playing the part, though.”
The rehearsals for the festival were held once a week on Wednesdays; in Velez’s opinion, it wasn’t too heavy of a time investmentment. As for the festival, Velez enjoyed watching the dedicated performances of other groups that shared the same passion for theatrical arts.
Maura Shanley ‘20 participated as a member of the crew. “It was the first time HB’s ever done the festival. We were there for the experience,” Shanley explained. While the plays could only be a maximum of forty minutes long, the HB skit was adapted from a twenty-four hour play festival, the result of a challenge in which a ten-minute show was written, cast, and produced in a day. Shanley, however, wasn’t involved with the writing or acting of the skit– “I was brought along as a crew member mostly to help with the stage.”
“I got kinda’ roped into it,” said Rogers of the production. Like Velez, she was swayed by a certain teacher. “Mr. Parker just walked up and asked me to be in it, really.” Watching the numerous 40-minute skits took up her entire Saturday, Rogers said, but the Bow trip wasn’t necessarily boring. “It was a long day… but it wasn’t what I expected.”
Gregory Parker, one of HB’s social studies teachers, theatre instructors, and the driving force behind the production, explained his decision to attend the weekend celebration. “I had a festival just like this in my hometown,” he explained. “For about ten years now, it’s been in the back of my mind as something I wanted to do. Alphabeticastle was a fun little piece that we couldn’t perform by itself, so it was perfect for an event like this.” He also gave reasoning behind his production and casting choices. Parker selects students for his productions based on how well their personalities match characters in the play, and, as it just so happened, the three main roles of the skit happened to match personalities three of his female students. Velez’s personality, he noticed, also seemed fit for that of the princess, and so he decided to cast all the main cast members as characters of the opposite gender.
“I also decided on predominantly upperclassmen, because they wouldn’t get to do a thing like this again, and choose kids that hadn’t been cast as leads before and see how they would work,” Parker clarified. “I also switched up a lot of roles in general. We had Ava [Occhialini, ‘17] in a directing role instead of an acting one, and Frank [Pugh ‘18] in a technical role instead of an acting one. It was awesome to see how well they performed in their new positions.” Parker said that he would absolutely do the event next year, with plays that his future students will write themselves.
Overall, the festival proved to be an interesting and enjoyable undertaking for Parker and the members of HB’s theatre group. Prospective students of his can look forward to attending the festival in the following years.