MCHS actors prepare to perform, probe themes in 2011 musical “Footloose”
November 13, 2011
If you go …
What: Moffat County High School’s performance of “Footloose”
When: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: MCHS auditorium, 900 Finley Lane
— For more information, call the high school at 824-7036.
“But if they’re willing to give it a chance, there’s a great message in there for every teenager, certainly teenagers in Craig.”
— David Gaines, Moffat County High School journalism and English teacher and cast member in the school’s fall musical, “Footloose”
On the stage at the Moffat County High School auditorium Saturday, the actors' movements were practiced and choreographed, trained through weeks of practice.
Backstage was a different scene, though, during a dress rehearsal for the high school's fall musical, "Footloose."
Actors dashed in and out of the dressing room, sometimes skidding on the linoleum before slamming the door behind them. They moved sets between scenes, practiced their dance moves off stage or simply waited for their entrances and tried to calm their nerves.
The students had less than a week before the opening performance, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday. Another 7 p.m. showing is scheduled for Friday, and the musical concludes with performances at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Tiffany Lingo, 14, a MCHS freshman, fiddled with her bright yellow skirt Saturday as she waited for her next scene.
"Sometimes I have butterflies," she said. "It's nerve-wracking to not mess up."
The anecdote to anxiety, she said, is making sure she's doing what she's supposed to onstage, getting into character and just "shaking off our nerves," she said.
It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to put on a musical like this, just ask stage manager Krista Lawrence.
"As stage manager, you can only be in one spot at a time," the MCHS sophomore said, adding that she relies on cast members to help with set and costume changes.
"Usually it works OK because with the group that we have doing 'Footloose,' they're a pretty reliable bunch," she said. "So, a majority of the time it's not too difficult."
'Great message in there'
The play centers around Ren McCormack, who moves to a small town where dancing and loud music have been banned in the wake of a car wreck that claimed the lives of several teenagers.
Betty Blast stands between the opposing forces represented by Ren and local pastor Shaw Moore, the father of one of the children killed in the wreck and spearhead of the ban.
Emmi Hall, 19, a 2011 MCHS graduate and Craig resident, plays Betty Blast, owner of the local teenage hangout, "Burger Blast," who stands between these two opposing viewpoints.
As Hall sees it, her character has a unique perspective on the changes that transpire in the town.
"She really approves of what Ren is doing," Hall said. "She thinks it's good. But at the same time, she's still an adult.
"I think she's one of the driving forces behind what Ren is wanting to accomplish."
The dynamic between Ren and Rev. Moore is part of the dynamic theme surrounding the story, which has been re-imagined several times, most recently in a 2011 remake of the film, which recently came to West Theatre in Craig.
The cast features other adult actors, including David Gaines, a MCHS journalism and English teacher.
A major theme in the production is that, "Kids need to find out who they are and hold to that — be themselves and not be cowed into becoming someone else because they're feeling pressured," Gaines said.
In Gaines' view, the play speaks to local high school students, who can relate to the small-town setting of the play, he added.
"High school students might tend to look at just a musical and decide it's not something they want to participate in or not something that they want to go see," Gaines said. "But if they're willing to give it a chance, there's a great message in there for every teenager, certainly teenagers in Craig."
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