By: Sophia David (Editor-in-Chief ‘21)
Cathy Herbert ‘21 and Claire May ‘21 are this year’s directors of the annual 9th and 10th grade play! Working with many talented underclassmen, they will put a show this May for the whole school community. Although months away, they are already getting started preparing.
Cathy explained that “because of COVID and not being able to be in person, it was easiest for us to do a kind of showcase, instead of an actual play. We have come up with a cabaret, showcase-style performance. We are picking material for the 9th and 10th graders to work on, from songs, monologues, and scenes. They will film their parts, and we will put it all together.”
They began by sending out a Google form to everyone participating. On the Google form, people could indicate their interest in performing a monologue, scene, and/or song. “Additionally,” said Claire, “we had them send in little audition videos of themselves singing and acting.” Based on this information Cathy and Claire are assigning roles. For monologues and most songs, the underclassmen will perform independently, but for the scenes, they may be working in pairs or groups.
Directing the 9th and 10th grade play is something that Cathy and Claire have wanted to do for many years. “Since 9th grade, when Cathy and I did Chorus Line, we were super into it. I told myself, ‘when I’m a senior, I’m gonna direct the 9th and 10th grade play too!’” Claire continued, “I kinda had that idea in my head since Freshman year, and now we are!”
In addition to their excitement to direct the play, both Cathy and Claire expressed the importance of the 9th and 10th grade play in general. Claire said, “In 9th and 10th grade, I was always super into theatre, but I could not get good roles in the main productions. I think being able to give [underclassmen] opportunities to show off a little, when they are being overshadowed by the upperclassmen, is good.” Similarly, Cathy believes that “The 9th and 10th grade show is a really great opportunity for underclassmen to feel like they are a part of the drama program.”
Not only is this play a unique opportunity for underclassmen, but it also provides an incredible learning experience for the senior directors. As Cathy said, “You learn by doing. If we are going to be helping them with acting or singing, we are going to be getting better at that too. It won’t just be them improving on their material.”
While Cathy is particularly excited to work with 9th and 10th graders on their acting, Claire is especially excited to work with 9th and 10th graders on their singing. Cathy highlighted how important it will be for them to work together to help performers perfect the songs: “When it comes to the songs, Claire and I are kind of a tag team for that. Not only can you work on vocals, but you can also work on acting within a song, which is something super important. Only more recently have I heard people talking about acting through singing. Normally in my head it has been that you sing the song and acting comes naturally, but really there is more to it.”
Overall Cathy and Claire are really excited. “Watching the audition tapes,” explained Claire, “there were a lot of people that I had seen in Chorus, in class, and on Zoom calls and would never have known that they were as good as they were. There was someone in Chorus who is new this year, and I had seen her on the Zooms. We got her monologue and singing tape, and we were like ‘Oh my gosh , this girl is amazing.’ We would not have known that if we hadn’t been doing this. It’s comforting to know that this is in good hands because the 9th and 10th graders that we have are really good.”
The title of the play is undecided, and Cathy and Claire decided to keep the monologues, songs, and scenes confidential. To find out we will have to watch it in May!