Theater offers a breather from looming stress


Rowan Gingras

Evan LaFrance ‘20 and Nicole Plummer ‘19 represent their characters’ rivalry with an on-stage dance battle. Gregory Parker, director, encouraged the actors to have fun with the production and develop their own love of acting. “The most pleasure I get from directing is seeing others have fun with it,” Parker said.

Rowan Gingras, Co-Oped Editor

High school can be insanely stressful between ever-looming deadlines, part-time jobs and college applications. However, many students have found a respite, a break from the constant pressure that still looks good on applications: theater.

Hollis-Brookline High School’s spring musical, All Shook Up, recently premiered on March 17-18 and 26-27. All Shook Up is a story based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but it takes place in the 1950s and features songs by Elvis Presley. The HBHS theater group performed for a large crowd opening night, mixing comedy with cheesy music to the delight of the audience.

Though this year’s musical is over, students still have plenty of opportunities to get involved in theater. Auditions for the spring play were held the Monday and Tuesday after the musical closed, March 26 and 27. Even if you missed the spring play auditions this year, there are still plenty of ways you can help, including tech crew, set building, and stage crew. However, if you’re set on being on-stage, the cycle will start all over again in the fall of 2018, providing months of creativity and fun freely available for all HBHS students.

Why join theater? It’s an extracurricular activity that many students enjoy, whether you like the stage or not. Theater participants have the chance to flex artistic, technical, physical, or managing talent. Theater teaches valuable life skills, from cooperation and teamwork to the intricacies of the art form and public speaking. Most new theater attendees enjoy all of these benefits, learning key life lessons in a stress-free environment, surrounded by helpful and supportive people.

There are plenty of ways to participate in theater, even if you suffer from a severe case of stage fright. Students of all interests and ambitions gather to make a musical or play come to life. There’s a job in theater for just about anyone. “Generally, [students can participate] just by auditioning,” said Gregory Parker, a history teacher and theater director of the last three years. “They can be a lead, or be in the ensemble, which sings. Or they can be a dancer. Behind the scenes, they can be a stage manager full-time, or a tech part-time, or a light or sound operator if they’re into technology. Or they can paint and build props, or they can be in the pit.” There’s a stereotype that theater is only for kids who like singing and acting, but that’s not true- there are countless opportunities for practically every talent imaginable.

Of course, there are plenty of benefits that tag along with the skill-building and beefing up of an application. Most notably, theater surrounds students with lots of talented, hard-working people who are happy to help whenever you need it. “I think my favorite part about being involved with the theater community is meeting talented people that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to know,” said Johanna Golden ‘19, who helped to choreograph All Shook Up. “Becoming friends with them and seeing their talent inspires me in my dancing and singing, [and] seeing them rise to the challenge of dancing reminds me that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.”

Beyond individual friendship opportunities, Parker stressed that theater is meant to provide a safe community and a place to escape from the woes of daily high school life. “High school is tough,” he said, “and the whole drama department is one of the most open, accepting places a student can be.”

Even though theater may take up some of your free time, the rewards are definitely worth it. Besides great new friends and a new skill set, there is immense personal satisfaction in seeing the production succeed. “It’s great seeing the hard work pay off,” said Olivia DiPrizio ‘20, who worked as a stage manager for the musical.

Participating in the drama department is a great way to balance out your high school career and have fun along the way. “The theater crew at HB is incredible and anyone who’s thinking of joining should! All you have to do is audition,” said Golden. Of course, students seeking to join crew or help with the technical aspect simply need to talk to Matthew Barbosa or Gregory Parker, who are always happy to add new members to the team. So, if you’re looking for another extracurricular, you’ll definitely find that (and more!) in theater.