Behind the scenes of Hillsborough High School’s one act play

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Onstage in the auditorium, freshman Aiden Bourgeois bellowed in gravelly tones. “You leave me no choice but to count backwards from 10,” as he tightly gripped the wooden gun in an awkward position. Junior Carli Castro rushed to his side, adjusted his hand and moved his elbow down. Theater director Jeff Pittard demonstrated the crazed motions required in the scene by holding the gun and whipping his head and arms around in all directions. “You need to make it big,” he called from below the stage.

One Act

Currently, members of the Thespians, are in the early stages of rehearsal for the One Act Play Festival Competition at USF. The One Act allows theatre programs from across the state to present their productions and receive score.
Although not every Thespian could participate in the act, Bourgeois, Castro, senior Jeremy Monge, freshman Kaileen Barreto and junior Gillian Bennett each hold a lead role.
“I play a madman and an insane character [in the Little Red Riding Hood],” Bourgeois said.
However, the act deviates from the traditional tale. “I’ve always liked twisted fairytales when they take something and chew it up, spit it out and do something different with it,” Pittard said. “

To me, it’s very physical and like the three stooges on acid, it’s just nuts and I want the audience to think ‘what did I just watch? and what was that?’”

— Jeff Pittard, drama teacher

Characters

According to Pittard, it was very easy to cast the parts. “I know pretty much after seeing a few theater games who I’m going to pick, I know who is ready, who has the stamina and sometimes when we’re doing a major musical I have auditions but these kids, these are all kids that wanted to join thespians and take it seriously, these are all my serious kids so I have no qualms about who they are.”
Castro plays the mother in the play. “I was a large maternal figure in my brother’s life so I try and think about the person who is playing my child in the same way that I think about him, like I genuinely care for their well-being and you have to make that chemistry too like it doesn’t just appear, so you have to work with that person and get to have that bond with them, so you can fake it on the stage,” she said.

Preparation for the show

To prepare for the performance, the cast reads through the scripts, prepares the set with furniture and props, recites and practices the scenes and finally runs through the full show a couple times.
Behind the scenes there are several more roles that are overlooked. Theater students can also do lights, sound, and can control the curtain and the stage, and organize props, makeup and publicity by creating posters.
“People think the thespians are just the actors but it’s really not, it’s everything, every possible job in theater including business stuff,” Pittard said. “Theater is this whole little world into itself.”

Comedic relief

Since childhood, Burgeois has created scripts in his room and talked to himself to create characters. “It’s the art of being anybody you want to be and there is something comforting about that, “he said.
Pittard agrees that theater is therapeutic and thinks the play is needs especially today. “I like comedies, there is enough sad things in the world that I think comedy is healing,” he said. “When you laugh about things, it’s a lot better than moaning and groaning about some of the worst things that are out there.”
The show will be at Hillsborough on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. and at USF on Dec. 6 or Dec. 7.

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