Senior scenes set stage for student-directed talent

Junior Meghan Hartigan (left) and Jillian Ross (Right) perform “Cindy and Julie” in the Performing Arts Center on February 9th, during senior scenes. “I love working together and collaborating with friends and peers to make something truly special,” Hartigan said.

To showcase the talent of East’s theater students, senior scenes were held in the Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, February 16th, giving the seniors a chance to direct seven short plays.

Senior scenes is a popular tradition at East. Whether it is because of the seniors getting a chance to direct and showcase their leadership skills or the underclassmen getting to act and help support the seniors, it is something that the entire theatre department can look forward to throughout high school.

Senior Matthew Gutzwiller directed the scene “Cankersores and Other Distractions” a scene about a divorced couple discussing the state of their relationship while being interrupted by their waitress and other distractions. Gutzwiller said that senior scenes — something he has been looking forward to for a long time — can provide a new perspective on something that has been a big part of his life.

“Senior scenes is special to me because it’s a chance to experience a part of theatre that I never have. Ever since my first senior scenes, I knew I wanted to direct a senior scene when I was able to because it seemed so fun,” Gutzwiller said.

Each scene took so much preparation and practice. For the directors, that included many different aspects as they organized the scene, while for the actors, that meant learning and memorizing dialogue. 

Senior Jocelyn Wells directed “The Mummy Unravels,” a comedic portrayal of a group of treasure hunters coming in contact with a mummy. Wells said that she spent a large amount of time preparing the scene.

“To prepare for my scene, I had to find an engaging and energetic scene, adjust my script and post on the google classroom as needed for my actors, create a rehearsal calendar, and plan out focal points to tackle for each rehearsal,” Wells added. 

With all of that preparation under their belts, it was said that they were ready for the big night.

“My scene went very smoothly and I couldn’t be more proud of my cast. All the other directors’ scenes were great too,” Gutzwiller said.

Junior Meghan Hartigan said that she feels the audience enjoyed the performances, particularly the comedy featured in “Cindy and Julie” as her character Cindy poked fun at romantic fantasy and its cliches.

“The night went excellently. The audience was loving my comedic scene and it made it much easier to feed off of their high energy,” Hartigan added.

Challenges did pose themselves from time to time while the cast was preparing the scenes, which the directors and actors worked to solve.

“Making sure I planned out what we would be doing at each rehearsal and always having answers for my actors questions as I was still trying to figure some things out was hard,” Wells added. “It was also hard to make sure we could communicate the scene’s location and really work with an empty space and few props.” 

Regardless of the challenges, senior scenes will remain to be important to East’s program.

Theatre Director Nicole Chandler said that senior scenes is a great event because it allows students to take the lead and show off their talents.

“My favorite part of senior scenes is seeing the entire East Theatre program come together to create something that is completely student-led,” Chandler added. “I think it’s amazing how all the students can come together to create theatre and seeing them all on stage and so proud of their work is incredible.”

According to Gutzwiller, senior scenes is important to the theater department due to the growth it can provide, ultimately showing why it is such a loved tradition.

“Being a director was a very fun experience throughout, but the best thing about it was the rewarding feeling of seeing my cast perform onstage. I was so proud of them, and of myself for all our hard work,” Gutzwiller said.

Kayli Link is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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