GHS spring cast 'breaks the mold' for future plays



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Graduating seniors performing in both spring plays starting on Thursday, March 24, include cast members Zach Pereira, Alysa Hemcher, Cameron Graaskamp, Nick Denver, Olivia Testa, and Kelly Welch. (Lauren Tiner) (click for larger version)
March 16, 2011
This year, Gilford High School's spring cast faces the challenge of rehearsing and performing two contrasting plays — "Metamorphoses" and "The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet" — on the main stage opening night.

"Metamorphoses" centers on American playwright Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Ovid's classic narrative poem, which loosely retells the history of the world through Greek mythology and a historical framework.

"The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet" is a comedic play which incorporates the style of Dr. Seuss stories with one of Shakespeare's most classic plays, written by playwright Peter Bloedel.

Co-Directors and GHS faculty members Matt Finch and Traci Minton also face the challenge of orchestrating two different plays on the same stage, yet positive elements outweigh the prospect of extra rehearsal time.

Both the spring play "Metamorphoses" and "The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet," the designated festival show to be performed at Plymouth on March 26, will see the limelight this year. Often in past years, Finch said, students have worked hard on both the spring play and the festival play, yet only had the chance to showcase one play on the main stage.

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Cast members of “Metamorphoses” and “The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet” practice a humorous scene during rehearsal time last week, in anticipation of opening night. (Lauren Tiner) (click for larger version)
This year, the audience is in for a surprise, and will view "Metamorphoses" during Act I and "Suessification" during Act II.

"We are working on both shows at the same time. The shows are so dramatically different. It's a challenge, but the students seem to be doing well," said Finch. "It's too bad when one show goes to the main stage when another does not. This is a new approach. We like the idea of the students getting both experiences."

While Finch first focused on "Metamorphoses," and Minton on "Suessification" for the regional festival at the end of the month, both directors have become more involved with each play and more collaborative as opening night approaches.

Students involved with both spring plays this year face a full day of school, followed by an intensive three-hour rehearsal, a large time commitment for cast members and co-directors, yet worth equally showcasing both plays.

Both Finch and Minton selected a play for each GHS cast to perform this year, and while the directors wanted these plays to stand out from past years, they also had to find plays that worked within a certain time frame.

"This is pretty different theatre than has been done in past years at GHS. We have a more classic Greek piece and then a louder, funnier play," said Finch.

Minton said the audience could expect to experience a range of emotions on opening night, from mourning, to smiling, and to laughing along the way.

Senior Nick Denver, now performing his tenth show at GHS, plays Mercutio in "Suessification" and Midas, Cevx, and Phaeton in "Metamorphoses." He finds that working between two different types of shows this spring has been a rewarding experience.

"It has been a real challenge switching between both shows. The first show has its tender, angry moments, while the second show has its funny moments. It's a great last show to go out with," said Denver. "One play is so challenging in its context and language, while the other play is so upbeat. Working to keep the tone between these two plays while switching back and forth presents a challenge."

Senior Cameron Graaskamp, now in his ninth show, plays Romeo in "Suessification" and a Henchman, Erysichthon, and Eros in "Metamorphoses."

Grasskamp agreed that this challenge has not only been a rewarding experience, but has also helped him to broaden his horizons as an actor, playing back to back in two dramatically different shows.

Senior Alysa Hemcher, now in her ninth show, plays the Servant of Capitulate in "Suessification" and Lucina, Hunger, and a female narrator in "Metamorphoses."

When asked which play the seniors gravitated towards most, Hemcher answered that both plays had their positive attributes, and were equally enjoyable to be a part of.

"While one play is a comedy to the audience, the other challenges their minds and their emotions. These two plays definitely stand out from past plays; they are breaking the mold of regular plays," said Hemcher.

Other seniors performing in this years two spring plays include Jenni Smith, Olivia Testa, Kelly Welch, Zach Pereira, and Ryan Haddock.

This year, GHS sophomore KC Nowak will also perform on the piano as an accompaniment to "Metamorphoses" during the first of the two spring shows.

All cast members agreed they were excited for opening night on Thursday, March 24 – exited to see the audience cry, and then laugh, the next minute.

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