The last bell had tolled and the weekend had officially begun, but last Friday many Papillion-La Vista High School students could still be found in the theater classroom and sprawled across the stage.
Actors, crew members and other students painted and built the set, made publicity posters and got costumes ready for next week’s production of “The Crucible.”
The Monarch Theatre Department’s 2013 fall play will be performed Oct. 25 and 26 at 7 p.m.
Ostensibly a story about witchcraft, one could see how the show would fit in shortly before Halloween. However, the story’s true subject matter is much scarier: the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and the dangers of mob mentality and mass hysteria.
Performing a show set more than 300 years ago could be a challenge, but director Molly Grasso said her students were well prepared.
“Our play production class did the dramaturgy for this show, researching costumes, music, history, the history of the play and its playwright,” Grasso said. “A lot of our leads are in our play production class, so it gave them a lot of background knowledge.”
Sam Harry, a senior and the show’s student director, said that the cast and crew also had to look up how to pronounce many of the words.
“I think the actors can interpret the text for the audience with their gestures and their voices,” he said.
Celine Myer, the senior who plays Elizabeth Proctor, said that the show connects to a modern audience through the emotions of the characters.
“It has to do with tone,” she said. “Tone hasn’t changed throughout the ages. The words may be different, but how your voice sounds when you’re happy or when you’re angry is the same.”
“Some aspects, like John Proctor’s affair or John and Elizabeth’s marital problems, are very relatable to now,” said Morgan Herbener, another senior in the show.
Herbener plays Abigail Williams, a versatile character in “The Crucible.”
“I had to really put myself out there, and be able to shift tone depending on what character I was around,” she said. “I think it’ll be fun for the audience, because they have at least three different ways to view Abigail.”
Grasso is also an English teacher, and she said she has loved the show for a long time. Junior English classes at the school are currently reading “The Crucible” in class, and all junior English students are coming to see the show.
“Everyone has a different interpretation of the play, and everyone in the audience will interpret your interpretation differently,” Myer said. “You want your audience to read your interpretation the way the director wants it to be read. You also want it to be different from other versions they may have seen. It’s about keeping it really fresh.”