The Hampton Drama Club’s annual autumn play is ‘falling’ into place. This year’s student-directed production is titled “Is He Dead?”, and will be performed on November 7th, 8th, and 9th. They are proud to say that this show is completely student-run. To get a better understanding of the hard work done to make this show what it is, we got firsthand interviews with Student Directors Noah Lewis and Rachel Simms, Stage Manager Ben Marcouiller, Actor Harry Hamlin and Actress Lindsay Liebro.
What materials did you use to make this year’s set?
Ben: Our set is almost completely constructed with wood, unlike last year’s musical that was welded metal.
Which of these materials is the most difficult to use when making the set?
Ben: The wood is tricky to work with. Properly measuring the pieces is pretty tedious.
What do you want the set to represent?
Ben: During act one, our set is representing a dingy apartment that is home to a painter. Act two embodies a lavish, furnished home.
Explain the process (and long hours) of tech week.
Ben: Tech week is when all the different aspects of the show come together. We have a lighting cue-to-cue where we basically do all the designing for the lights, and then we just run the show over and over again, gradually incorporating the new revisions. Tech week nights are long. They go from right after school to 10 pm.
Because this production is student-run, Noah Lewis and Rachel Simms have asserted the position of student directors. We asked them how they chose the play this year.
What made you decide to go through with this specific play?
Noah: Well, Rachel and I were between three plays: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, this one, and The Butler Did It. We chose this one because it was the most obvious choice in terms of realism and how the cast could project the story. We were on the same page: it was hilarious, we were laughing all the way throughout the read. We loved it.
Rachel: I first read it on an airplane on my way back from New York. I was sitting in my seat cackling to myself. I was totally sold.
What is the concept of Is He Dead?
Noah: Jean-Francois Millet was a real painter in the 1700s, believe it or not. Mark Twain took his real life story and spun a fictional twist on it: he fakes his death. He disguises as his widowed sister. While his art goes up in value, he struggles to be around his love interest without actually being himself.
Rachel: Yep. It’s the story of how a starving artist can boost his reputation while still toggling his public image as living or dead.
Lindsay Liebro takes on the limelight for this show. Here we ask her some questions about how the play is going from an actress’s point of view.
What character do you play in Is He Dead? What kind of person are they?
Lindsay: I play Marie Leroux. She’s deeply in love Jean-Francois Millet. She’s a bit ditsy and outrageously emotional, but she knows where her heart is.
What is your favorite part of show week?
Lindsay: My favorite part would probably have to be all the company bonding backstage. Everyone’s just coming together, and it really is a second family. I can’t overlook the backstage snacks either. Those are a total win.
What should the audience be looking to see during this performance?
Lindsay: There is always so much happening on stage and some of the most comedic parts are the ones that are just reactions. It’s really the small-scale things that set the whole scene.
Harry Hamlin takes the male and female lead this show. We asked him how the adjustment of roles is to him.
How does it feel to dress as a woman?
Harry: I can’t lie, it’s really weird. It’s so odd to have synthetic eyelashes on my face. The wig can get really annoying as well.
What is your favorite part about the process.
Harry: Building friendships among other cast members is so nice. That’s why I do this, the experience is really like no other.
The students have put in a lot of work the past couple of months for this show to hit the stage, so be sure to attend one of the shows this week! Students are $5 and adults are $8.