Arts & Events

Senior Theatre Festival 2013 showcases talented students

The Faculty Room, a black comedy, takes place in—not surprisingly—the faculty room of Madison-Furey High School, a high school stuck in middle-of-nowhere America. The plot centers on five faculty members: a principal and four teachers.
Three of the teachers have been teaching at Madison-Furey High School for a very long time, the longest employed perhaps being Bill, an old ethics teacher whom the other faculty have never heard speak. The newest teacher from the city, Carver, only wants to teach and make a difference at the school, but the other faculty are more curious about his unknown past.
Besides two stage hands acting as janitors for the purpose of moving the set, the actors playing the four teachers and the principal were the only cast members in the production.
These five characters are far from perfect. For instance, among other not-so-good deeds, the teachers pick out a boyfriend or a girlfriend from the student body every year.
“All these characters are really awful people, but they all do things that make them think they’re good,” senior Josef Lange said.
Lange is the director of the play, and due to unforseen medical complications for senior Daniel Smith, Lange will also being playing Smith’s original role as Adam Younger.
One of the major themes of the play is recognizing the gray areas between good and bad, and perhaps one of the most surprising parts about the play is audience sympathy with these extremely flawed characters.
“For their own sakes, I hope the audience doesn’t identify too much with the characters,” senior and scenic designer Andrea Becker said, “but I do hope they find some ways to relate to them. Although the situation at Madison-Feurey High is a little bizarre, I think the audience will find ways to understand and commiserate with these teachers.”
Lange added that being able to relate to the characters allows the audience to “take a step back and realize their faults.”
The Senior Theatre Festival is a year-long project, essentially a senior thesis, and requires planning in the fall semester.
“The first semester we read plays,” Lange explained. By the end of the semester, seniors and students in other grades are put into small groups to work on a play. As a result, the number of people working on a given play is small, and the group performing The Faculty Room is no exception.
Lange knew that he wanted to work on The Faculty Room, and has very much enjoyed directing it. As a graduating senior with a double major in Theatre Arts and Computer Science, he looks forward to performing in and directing shows outside of Puget Sound.
“[STF] is a great opportunity to show what I learned to myself,” Lange said. Being a part of STF has made him “realize I have learned so much here,” and he sees his work in the show as “a culmination of all the work I’ve done while I’ve been here.”
Becker sees STF as “a jumping-off point into the real world. I am also the lighting designer for the STF show Something Cloudy, Something Clear, and I hope to continue working as a scenic and lighting designer in the future.”
While Kara Klepinger is not a senior, she still wanted to participate in STF because of her “deep love for theater. I did it all throughout high school and look for every way to be more involved here without being a theater major. I would love to participate in more theater projects after I graduate, although I do not anticipate a career in it.”
The Faculty Room and other future shows for this year’s STF are highly anticipated by Puget Sound’s graduating seniors, but while this may be the culmination of their theater work at Puget Sound, Lange comments that he’ll definitely do more shows in the future, and that this is still just another play.
STF, then, both marks the end of theater work at Puget Sound and acts as a starting point for theater for all of life after school.
Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill will be performed on April 12 and 13.