Love, Death and Prom

CP’s student-directed show that covers a broad range of themes and topics

Jillian Parks, Reporter

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Justin Doud and Kylee in their scene “Commercial Break” directed by Ashley Wienecke.
Credit to Ted Bell

The BlackBox theatre will be hosting another show, Love, Death and the Prom, on October 7-10 at 7:00 pm. Over 50 students are participating in this show, whether onstage or off, which is comprised of a series of short scenes weaved together into one play.  

“This show is about, well… love, death, and the prom,” freshman actress Phoebe Hamburger said. “It is about finding yourself and your place in the world,. It’s about remembering friendships and where you came from even if you are leaving. This show gives many great messages and many different stories that people might be able to relate to.”

Unlike previous BlackBox shows, this one was directed by students. Nine student directors were chosen and assigned a scene. Before the actors were chosen, directors got to work figuring out movement patterns, scenery, props, costumes and much more. 

“This particular show, called for nine student directors, and this is my first time directing a scene,” junior director Ashley Wienecke said. “As an actor, you may worry about memorizing your lines, implied movement, diction, project, and facial expressions. But as a director, you are concerned about so much more. The actors use their skill set to bring their particular character to life, but the director can really help build the image as a whole.”

The audition process was closed, meaning nobody but the directors saw each audition. Everybody read a portion of the script for the directors and were given callbacks. Each actor had to then go around the auditorium finding the directors they got callbacks from. Even during the process, some people made friends that ended up being in the cast. 

“Something that I found surprising about this show is how many friends I have made out of it,”  Hamburger said. “We all are in different scenes, even though they’re the same show so I was pretty sure I’d just get really close to my castmates  and my director. I was wrong, I discovered that I would make many long-lasting friendships with castmates in the show, people in tech, and even the directors.”

Each scene held separate rehearsals memorizing their lines, figuring out their blocking and movement, and delving deep into each character. Then, for two weeks, directors and their actors ran their scenes with costumes, makeup, sets, lights and props. 

“The most challenging part of the process is the transition from rehearsals into tech week,  Wienecke said. “During later rehearsals, the blocking and memorization aren’t much of a problem. Yet the transition to adding lights and sound can throw the actors off at first. But it’s simply a bump in the road as we get right back on track to polish the scene.”

On top of the shared enthusiasm of the actors, this show is special because of its relatable themes. Following the lives of high schoolers and adults, this show tackles lighter topics like love, prom, commercials and football alongside darker topics such as death, blood pacts, and suicide. The juxtaposed organization of the show allows the show to take on elements of both comedies and dramas, taking the audience member on an emotional rollercoaster. 

“People should see this amazing show because of the wonderful quality, the massive effort put in by all involved, and the entertainment that it provides,” freshman actor Justin Doud said. “To steal a line, this show will make you laugh, cry, and yearn for more.”