If you go …
What: MCHS production of “The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood”
When: 7 p.m. March 17 and 18, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 19
Where: Moffat County High School auditorium, 900 Finley Lane
— Admission is $5 per person
On a bright afternoon earlier this week, the sidewalks at Moffat County High School ran wet with melting snow.
Students dressed in spring attire gathered outside under full sunshine to await the arrival of yellow school buses.
Inside, however, a collection of nearly 20 teenagers stood in a dark auditorium and toiled under bright stage lights.
It was a rehearsal for the spring play, and it was serious business.
The play, “The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood,” opens in less than a week. It will be performed March 17, 18 and 19 at the high school, 900 Finley Lane.
“The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood” is a farcical retelling of the legend of Sherwood Forest. The stage designs incorporate colorful lighting, vivid costumes, and outsized performances.
Although the play demands expression, a cast member said the act of bringing life to the stage is actually a quiet process.
“Drama is such an internal thing,” senior Karen Bolton said. “I talk to myself.”
Talking to oneself doesn’t mean crazed rambling in the acting world, she said. Rather, it’s affirmation.
“When I first started drama, I had so much stage fright it was ridiculous,” she said. “But, I just kept telling myself, ‘You can do this, you can do this. Just a little at a time.’”
That’s an idea that is shared by many of the young actors in the production.
Senior Tucker Trujillo plays the villain Prince John.
On Wednesday, Trujillo unleashed a comedic performance during rehearsal. He stalked the stage in full robes, at full volume, and fully immersed in the part.
“When you’re on stage to do a role, you are that person,” Trujillo said. “I am Prince John, not Tucker.”
When the lights come on and the curtains open, Tucker said an internal switch is thrown.
“You lose a lot of inhibition,” he said. “You don’t have that fear.”
MCHS senior Kimberlynne Hill plays the role of Marion. She has been in several plays before, but this is her first leading performance.
“I’m usually a shy girl, but I’ve really tried to be more ‘sha-la-la,” Hill said of her performance. “I’ve tried to bring it over the top.”
Over the top, in this case, means speaking in a foreign accent, vamping it up, and contorting her face into a wide range of comedic expressions.
Hill said full-blown comedy requires a light touch.
“It’s hard to find the middle line where people don’t think you’re a fool on the stage more than they think you’re funny,” she said. “But, I’ve worked really hard, and I’ve had to spend a lot of time in the mirror.”
MCHS senior Emmi Hall plays the character Townschick, the play’s narrator. Hall spends a large part of her performance pacing alone on stage, lit by a single spotlight, and speaking directly to theatergoers.
“I think it’s really cool,” Hall said of her role. “I really get to break down the fourth wall and connect with the audience. That’s a good thing because you really need to get personal with the audience to make it work better.”
The connection between actors and audiences can strain more quickly in comedies if you’re not careful, junior Jordyn Caddy said.
Caddy provided a glimpse of her comedic performance Wednesday when her character, Lady in Waiting, burst into hysterics on stage.
Although she hit her marks and delivered a bold performance, Caddy said comedic acting tests one’s nerves. If a joke falls flat, an actor has to move on.
“If you say a joke and nobody laughs, you’re like, ‘Um, anyway,’” she said.
But, of all the burdens carried by the play’s thespians, perhaps MCHS junior Caleb Lee bears the biggest of them all.
Lee, who’s low voice brought life to Captain Von Trapp in the school’s November 2010 production of “The Sound of Music,” was tapped to play Robin Hood last week, just two weeks before the play opens.
Lee said the actor who had previously studied for the part had to bow out. Until further notice, he said he’s Robin Hood.
Lee said he’s optimistic about his performance, should it come to pass.
“It’s a little nerve wracking having such a short timeframe to prepare, but it’ll get done,” he said.
Co-director Heather Dahlberg said she has faith in her cast.
“I have a lot of talent up there,” she said. “By heck or high water, it’s going to be a great show.”
Bolton, who is playing the minor character, Leader of the Fawning Ladies, said she’ll continue to focus on her craft over the coming days.
“It’s tiny little steps that have brought me this far,” she said. “So I’ll keep talking to myself and say things like, ‘Make sure you say your lines slower this time.’
“It’s those little things that build me up and make me better.”
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