Greek plays get breath of fresh air
What's old is new again, and Lansing High School drama students are proving it with their fall performances of three Greek plays.
The drama department will perform "The Apple of Discord," "Phaeton and the Sun Chariot" and "Proteus" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 and 4 at Lansing Intermediate School auditorium.
Carla Scovill, LHS Drama Club sponsor, said the plays had been written for a contemporary audience but were based on ancient Greek myths. Scovill, who is directing the play with Ken Church, LHS forensics sponsor, said she chose the plays because so many students could be involved.
Samantha Mitchell, LHS senior and assistant director, said cast and crew included 40 students for the plays.
The actors are many, but the set is sparse. Students will use boxes and stairs on the stage as the main set elements. Mitchell said the set left more for the audience to imagine. The costumes also are simple: Each actor will wear a white T-shirt and jeans and use accessories to build the characters.
Scovill said she chose the scaled-down scenario on purpose to get to know her actors. She is returning this year from a three-year hiatus from sponsoring Drama Club, so she said she had worked with only one student in the cast. When it was time to choose the cast, Scovill said the process took two days.
"I cast every single kid who auditioned whose schedule allowed me to cast them," she said.
The actors' experience ranges from "kids who've never set foot on stage" to students who have performed in school and community theater, Scovill said.
"I'm just really tickled we have so many underclassmen," she said.
Scovill said the plays were new to her and to the students, but she said the students were embracing them. Without any preconceived notions on her part, she said the students were free to bring up suggestions. The students are active in choosing the music, she said, including songs from "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "Moulin Rouge." They also decided to liven up a poetry selection by changing it into a rap.
"They're working really hard for us," Scovill said. "They've really come a long way."
The students have been putting in the work all through October to get ready for opening night. Mitchell, who is working behind the scenes for the first time, said the actors had practiced four times a week for about three hours each day. The technical crew meets for about three hours on Saturdays to prepare, she said.
"We're moving along, but we're not performance-ready," Mitchell said last week.
As the time grows nearer to the first curtain call, the students must step up to higher expectations. Monday, Oct. 24, was the deadline for having lines memorized; Monday, Oct. 31, is the first dress rehearsal. And the directors have yet to decide in what order the plays will be performed.
Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for students and children at the door; students can buy advance tickets for $2 at lunch at LHS on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.