The stage is animated with characters laughing and talking while standing bathed in the orange stage lights. As the scene comes to an end, the performers scuttle off the stage, heading for the wings. Moments later, they emerge from behind the curtain to run the scene again. After this, they’ll have to do it many more times—once with different lighting, another with different positioning, improving the show until it is the best that it can be.
For the cast of this year’s Shakespeare production, “Measure for Measure”, rehearsals during tech week required significant time and dedication but also caused students to bond over shared experiences.
According to director and drama teacher Mary Mastandrea, the cast of Measure for Measure is currently refining details and exploring nuances in order to deliver a polished performance on opening night. Students are running the play, adjusting sounding and light cues, and figuring out the logistics of the play.
“A show can completely change from rehearsal to rehearsal by adding a prop, by changing a costume, by understanding a scene more deeply,” Mastandrea said. “During tech week, the show transforms into a cohesive narrative. It’s fantastic.”
Mastandrea is aided by drama teacher Mark Vanderzee and a tech crew consisting of students. According to the director, they are responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes. Although they never get to stand in the spotlight, the tech crew compiles the program, changes the lighting and sound cues and is constantly making adjustments.
Also backstage is the show’s costume designer, senior Summer Barnes. According to Barnes, designing the costumes involves sketching, planning, re-designing and collecting materials, some of which are lent from Tufts University and Emerson College.
“I’m over the hump of getting everything collected at this point,” Barnes said. “For costumes, a lot of it is getting nitpicky with it. Now it’s about fine-tuning it and making sure everything looks cohesive and as good as possible.”
For senior and leading actress Devasha Solomon, fine-tuning means something different: she focuses on accurately portraying the character of Isabella. She acknowledges that this is a job that takes dedication, time, and commitment, and she recognizes that focus is crucial during tech week.
“You have to be really focused on your schoolwork and maintaining your relationships with other people,” Solomon said. “You need to make sure that all the time you’re spending on the show doesn’t take away from that.”
With the play as a responsibility for cast members, navigating school and friendships can be challenging. However, they have developed strategies to cope.
“I have a system now and I outline everything,” sophomore Angela Lee said. “I make a table for when to do my homework.”
According to Lee, communication between students and teachers is also key in maintaining good grades and reducing stress.
“You let your teachers know that you’re stressed,” Lee said. “I let them know in the beginning of the year that I’m participating in the Shakespeare play and that it’s a big time commitment.”
The dedication required may seem extensive, but the cast has bonded over their fun, mutually shared experiences in the time they’ve been together.
“We’re spending so much time with each other that so many inside jokes start to emerge,” Solomon said. “It’s just loads of fun being onstage with everyone.”
As opening day approached, the cast continues to work hard as they eagerly await the opportunity to present the show they’ve been working on for weeks. Ultimately, according to Solomon, tech week is a fun experience that allows students to deepen their love for acting.
“It’s far more rewarding than it is stressful because you finally get to see the show you’ve been working on for months come together and take form,” Solomon said. “You’ll start to really get an idea of what the audience will be seeing of your hard work.”