By Madeleine Lee
Art courtesy of St. Mary's Upper School Play Program
The drama department has turned to a new, unique way of doing theater for this spring’s straight play.
Instead of a traditional play, the actors are performing two short stories by Ray Bradbury, “The Veldt” and “All Summer in a Day.”
Mrs. Madden said she was motivated to make this somewhat unorthodox decision because, she “knew [she] was losing lots of upper school girls to the MUS play.” She said she “needed a good way to develop a sense of ensemble.”
Ms. Madden is one of the founders of the theater company, Voices of the South which often adapts short stories for the stage.
“It’s all about ensemble and working with a group of people to create images that tell a story.”
Madden also explained that there are girls in the play, especially seniors, who wouldn’t normally participate in musicals, but they are interested in the performing-arts element of theater.
“I think this style appeals to people who would not normally come into theater. It’s a different type of experience,” she said.
McKinley Gilmore (11), who is part of the cast for “All Summer in a Day,” explained that there are no sets or props.
“It’s more conceptual,” she said, “in my show we use only buckets, and the audience can tell by the way we’re interacting with the buckets whether we’re sleeping, in the classroom, or anywhere else.”
The performances involve a variety of movements and imagery, without requiring intricate sets, costumes or props to inform the audience of what is occurring.
The production is also different in that Madden is working alongside a guest director, Alice Berry. The two have run Voices of the South together for 24 years.
“She has the sensibility to get to the essence of a story through picture. I love watching her work, but I compliment her because I keep things moving,” Madden said.
Berry was, in fact, the one who suggested the idea of Ray Bradbury because she had previously organized his stories into performances with large groups of actors.
Instead of a set ticket price, the show will be “pay what you can.” This is feasible because the drama department turned a large profit from last fall’s musical “The Addams Family,” and there was little money spent on things like costumes, props or musicians. The “pay what you can” policy allows people to make a donation to the drama department if they feel so inclined, but they are not required to do so.
“It’s a different way of seeing theater. We get caught up in what the set and costumes look like, when really the imagination comes from the actors themselves. This style also encourages the audience to use their imagination, and it may encourage them to read more Ray Bradbury,” Madden said.
The play opens on Feb. 21 and runs through Feb. 23.
For & By Students
Our website videos were made in partnership with St. Mary's video-making publication, Bella Vista.
Click on the author or artist's name to view more of her work!
HAVE AN ARTICLE IN MIND?