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Artist Spotlight: Gregory Parker

Courtesy+of+New+Classics+Company+-+Parker%2C+far+left%2C+performing+improv
Courtesy of New Classics Company - Parker, far left, performing improv

Courtesy of New Classics Company - Parker, far left, performing improv

Courtesy of New Classics Company - Parker, far left, performing improv

Nicole Poitras, Co-Editor In Chief

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New Hollis Brookline history teacher Gregory Parker has always been a theatre kid. Despite obtaining a history degree and becoming an educator, his obsession with performance has never ceased to exist.

 

His love of the stage began early in life when he tried out for his school’s production of The Wizard of Oz in fourth grade, hoping for a lead. Alas, said Parker: “I became farmer number three and I was really upset.” However, he stuck with his role, and fell in love with the act of performing.

 

In seventh grade, he got the opportunity to take part in a community production.

 

“I thought that community theatre was hot stuff, like one step below Broadway,” Parker said.

 

His local debut began four to five years in community theatre. After that, he was set to go to Emerson College, but issues with the financial aid department rendered him unable to get his application in on time, and he spent his four years at Keene State.

 

“I knew that getting by on just a theatre degree wasn’t going to be the best,” Parker reflected. “I enjoyed history, but I was lazy at that point as a senior in high school, and since I got a four on the AP exam it covered the most credits in college. So I stuck with that and ended up really enjoying it.”

 

Now, having moved up from the middle school, he will continue to assist choir teacher Matthew Barbosa in future high school productions in his second year as a teacher.

 

“He’s like a long-lost sibling,” Parker said of Barbosa. “Well, a hairier long-lost sibling.”

 

The first three productions for the duo, the self-proclaimed “Parbosa Airlines,” drew fabulous reviews. Now, the partners in crime are opening the school year with something completely new: an original production written by Parker himself.

 

Alice has always been my favorite book. I’ve always loved Alice In Wonderland. I wrote [the play] last summer because I didn’t think there had ever been a really good version of Through the Looking Glass. It’s a terrible story, and it ends terribly. So I ended up redesigning it as an older Alice going back through Wonderland, and it’s the Through the Looking Glass story but I have elements from the first book so that she reencounters old characters. This year I changed it again so that it’s a high school Alice struggling with the decision of whether or not to go to college. Her journey back through Wonderland helps her make the decision in the end.

 

“There are a few scenes that are completely fabricated by me, and there are some where I just took the old dialogue and tweaked it a little bit,” Parker concluded.

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Courtesy of New Classics Company – the poster for Parker’s original play

Parker’s playwriting ability has helped in the success of his very own theatre company on Hyannis, The New Classics Company.

 

New Classics was founded by Parker and a group of like-minded friends three summers ago. Their first production was The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged, which had to be held in a high school auditorium. From there they were able to start renting a beautiful, refurbished barn where they stage their original productions and free weekly improv shows. In addition, the Company enjoys going out and doing performances in the community.

 

“Over the years we’ve become a fixture in the Hyannis area, which is tough because on Cape Cod there’s a ton of theatre. It’s definitely cool, I didn’t think we’d last this long so it’s nice to be proven wrong but it’s definitely a lot of fun.”

 

With his summers dedicated to New Classics, Parker enjoys throwing his passion into the high school theatre department during the fall and winter. From here, he believes the Hollis Brookline theatre program can only grow. His main goal for the department? “To have fun,” he said.

 

“The idea I want to do is to make art that is smart and informative. The performance is a part of it, but the important part for me is what the actors get out of it rather than what the audience gets out of it. I want to create a place where we can explore and do new stuff and create original stuff. I want to see it grow, and have a lot of fun and do a lot of learning, which I think we’re well on our way to doing.”

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The student news site of Hollis Brookline High School
Artist Spotlight: Gregory Parker