Fall Play Preview
KUA's 2017 Fall Play Will Be "What the Bellhop Saw"
As the leaves turn and the air gets crisper, KUA residents look forward to all that fall brings, and nothing is more anticipated than the fall play. This year, the production chosen is What the Bellhop Saw.
What the Bellhop Saw was written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. “We [did] this play 17 years ago,” said Mr. Weidman, Assistant Head of School and Head of the Theatre Department. “For two years in a row, we’ve done a very dramatic and intense piece. This year I wanted to do something light-hearted, not intense emotionally. I also want to do something in proscenium, with the audience sitting in the auditorium seats because for two years we’ve had the audience sitting on the stage. And our students need to learn how to do all different kinds of theater. I like to vary the genre,” Weidman explained.
What the Bellhop Saw is a comedy that takes place in a hotel room in New York. The references in the play have been slightly modernized to contemporary equivalents so the students can gain a better understanding of the play.
The All School Theme of “passion” ties to the play in various ways. “Certainly, just like in every farce, romance and love (and the other definitions of passion) play a huge role,” commented Mr. Weidman. Several characters in the play also embody various versions of passion. For example, Babu, a killer in the play, is passionate about his thinking and doggedly pursues his victims. Mr. Bickhardt, the manager of the hotel, and Stan, the CIA agent, are both passionate about doing their jobs to the fullest extent.
KUA’s Arts Department is always actively involved in the process of creating a play. Students help with painting the backdrop and building the set. This year all the doors and windows in the set are practical, meaning they are capable of being used and are not just for decoration.
The set is an interior box which depicts the hotel room in which the story takes place. All action occurs within those three walls, with the audience watching the goings-on through the stereotypical imaginary “fourth wall.” “In many comedies, the actors break through the fourth wall by actually engaging with the audience,” said Mr. Weidman. The characters do not consistently break the fourth wall; however, there are some occasional indirect fourth wall breaks in this show. Some actors will speak to the audience but will make no direct eye contact with them.
Although the play is hilarious, there are some challenges that the actors face when rehearsing. “When you do a play with physical comedy, it’s all about speed, timing, and getting the jokes out. You have to make sure that the audience can follow the actions clearly even though it is moving very fast,” Mr. Weidman explained. The first act ends with “high comedy,” which the students can look forward to.
The cast is a diverse mix of classes with a variety of experience in theatre. This play will highlight the talents of seniors Garrett Zito, Alex Cohen, Gavin McGough and Eze Dike-Nwagbara. Juniors Lukas Grell, Kelsey Walker, Emilia Weeden and Anna Boden will add their sterling skills to the company. Sophomores Andrew Noel and Gene Chang, and freshmen Roberto Silva-Neto, Riley Werner and Casey McCauley will round out the ensemble.
What the Bellhop Saw will be shown from Wednesday through Saturday night at 7:30 pm, October 25th to 28th. The audience will be limited to approximately 150-200 seats and everybody will be seated in the center section so they can get the best view.
The seating is, as Mr. Weidman pointed out, intentional and based on the play’s genre:“In comedy, it really helps when the audience sits close together; laughter is infectious.” There will be both recorded music and some live music during the show. The first act will be about an hour and the second act will be about 20 minutes, with a brief intermission in between.
Community members interested in attending the show should be on the lookout for ticket reservation announcements at All School Meeting and during lunch in Doe Dining Hall. It will also be advertised locally.