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2020 Spring Arts Festival: Theatre

From the Advanced Projects in Theatre Classes


So, if you can believe it, the last live performance – the last Art Event – at school before campus closed was The 2020 Student Drama Series: the culmination of the Advanced Projects in Theatre class. We had two shows on Friday, February 28 – one at 4pm and one at 7pm – less than two weeks before school shut down. It was awesome to have so many students, faculty, and staff in the house supporting these 8 entirely student-made productions. In case you missed it, I’m including the link to the video of the SDS (from the 4pm showing), here! (Also, ICYMI, here’s the link to the Winter Play, Antigone X, presented by the theatre department in late January.)

Once Projects class went into shelter-in-place mode, we tried to figure out what making theatre outside of a theater, meant. If it’s not live, is it theatre? If it’s performed live but streamed through a camera lens, is it theatre? If there’s no live audience gathering together and sharing space, is it theatre? These are questions that the entire national theatre community – heck, the entire global theatre community – has been asking for the past two months. And we’re still trying to figure it out! What we have determined so far, though, is that it’s still possible to make performance in these socially distant times. And, it’s still possible to do two other things that are central to theatre making: connect to your community and tell a story.

So, in addition to watching theatre productions together, online, what we did a lot of in 4th quarter Projects, was compose little performance pieces, very, very quickly and with little to no prep time. I would give the class a composition – a document that would have a list of elements, or, a list of ingredients – on it. Then, the Projects students – sometimes on their own, sometimes in groups – would set about making short little performances that included all of the ingredients I’d listed in the document. Once they were given the composition, the students had anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to make something. I’ve included links to a handful of the compositions made, along with the original document the students were given with the list of required ingredients. NOTE: these compositions are purposefully abstract and not driven by a traditional narrative. The whole point of composing quickly is that you’re, ideally, forced to get out of your head; the goal is to put the pieces together in a way that doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. You want to follow your interest and your impulse and see where it takes you.

From the Spring Musical

When Shelter-in-Place was first announced, the musical was about a month into what’s normally an 11-week rehearsal process. A lot of good work had already happened in that month: we’d done a thorough analysis/unpacking of the whole script; the students did fantastic research presentations on everything from the original playwright, Frank Wedekind, to the authors of the musical, to German culture and politics in the late 19th century; we’d almost finished learning the songs for the show; we’d started choreography on three numbers; and we’d just completed our first week of staging.

And, when school closed, we knew, even if we were allowed back on campus after 2-3 weeks of remote learning, that there would be too much ground lost to present the musical in its traditional mode: in its entirety, live, in the theater. We met – cast, stage managers, and directors – in that first week of distance learning, and discussed our options, with Joel, Natalie, and I all throwing out ideas about how we could go forward. The cast was, understandably, disappointed and highly skeptical of our proposals. I polled each student to see what they thought about returning to the process and trying some of their directors’ ideas, and then, we took the rest of the week off from rehearsals so that people could get used to the new schedule and being online for class all the time.

Once we came back into a now modified rehearsal schedule that was more distance learning friendly (shorter rehearsals, only twice a week), we decided to go forward with recording all of the large group numbers (and a couple of extras) and the scenes that accompany those songs (and a couple of extras!). Joel set about making tracks for all of the songs (a MASSIVE effort); I began rehearsing – and re-staging the scenes – now for a Zoom format; and, our choreographer, Natalie, created choreography for a few of the numbers that could be done both on Zoom or recorded individually by the students, music video style. We then set a recording schedule – and a re-shoot schedule – and a premiere date.

It’s been interesting to direct on Zoom – and to start to learn what acting and directing is, in this new format. It’s not theatre acting. And it’s not film acting. It’s some sort of crazy hybrid. Because the texts that we’re working with were written for the theatre, “realistic” film acting doesn’t work – you still need to meet the heightened language and storytelling that is required in the theatre. At the same time, you can’t ignore the camera, or the frame that you’re acting within. We’re still figuring it out but it’s been great to have this time with the students to try and crack the nut that is Zoom Theatre. And I so, so appreciate the musical students hanging in – diving in, actually – to presenting our material in this new way. As I said in regards to the discussion we’ve been having in Projects class, we discovered that storytelling and connecting to your community is possible, even remotely.

*Go here for the Senior Celebration Insert to the program (every year, when the musical closes, we acknowledge all seniors who have participated in the Theatre Department in their time at UHS).

*And here’s the link to our Arts home page where you can watch The Spring Musical: Excerpts from Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s Spring Awakening

Thank you, all, for watching – and for your support of the Theatre Department this year. We can’t wait until we can see you again, in our home space: the UHS Theater. And, until that time, we’ll keep making performances and telling stories and sharing them with you!

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy – Susannah Martin, UHS Theatre Director & Arts Program Coordinator



Acting II
Ryan O’Donnell, Instructor
Jay Aggarwal ‘23
Anya Armentrout ‘23
Phia Black ‘23
Henry Burton ‘23
Harper Clementz ‘23
Tarak Duggal ‘20
Jessica Gajiwala ‘23
Sophie Garcia ‘22
Marco Jacimovic ‘20
Roman Leraris ‘23
Isabel Matteo ‘23
Matthew Moore ‘23
Jacob Neplokh ‘23
Harry Parsons ‘23
Arthur Serra ‘23
Chelsea Woolf ‘23

Advanced Projects in Theatre I
Susannah Martin, Instructor
Matthew Gin ‘21
Ava Jo ‘21
Anna Neumann-Loreck ‘21
Madelyn Ockner ‘21
Janavi Padala ‘21
Lauren Schneider ‘21
Mishka Shirin-Stroh ‘21
Sara Tagol ‘21
David Wignall ‘21

Advanced Projects in Theatre II
Susannah Martin, Instructor
Lukas Bacho ‘20
Claudia Bruce ‘20
Hayden Deffarges ‘20
Sebastian Fischer ‘20
Kyra Kushner ‘20
Eve Leupold ‘20
Mary Qiu ‘20
Sadie Scott ‘20

The Spring Musical
Susannah Martin, Director
Joel Chapman, Music Director
Natalie Greene, Choreographer

Anya Armentrout ‘23
Lukas Bacho ‘20
Maddy Black ‘23
Claudia Bruce ‘20
Maggie Carlson ‘21
Katrina Franco ‘23
Matthew Gin ‘21
Caroline Hall-Sherr ‘22
Pablo Hansen ‘22
Ava Jo ‘21
Sophie Jones ‘23
Isabel Matteo ‘23
Leila Menezes ‘22
Madelyn Ockner ‘21
Janavi Padala ‘21
Christina Sze ‘20
Benjamin Tripp ‘20
Hannah Urisman ‘22
Ariane Vidal ‘22
Sarah Walcott ‘22
David Wignall ‘21

Technical Theatre I
James Faerron, Instructor
Ella Barrett ‘23
Johnnie Lee Carter ‘23
Victoria Mann ‘23
Ben Welner ‘23

Technical Theatre II
James Faerron, Instructor
Hayden Deffarges ‘20
Anna Neumann-Loreck ‘21
Aurélie Roubinowitz ‘21
Lauren Schneider ‘21
Jessie Sherr ‘20
Zoe Shibley ‘20
Kyra Slattery ’20
Lauren Teotico ‘21
Owen Wolff ‘21
Andre Zelaya ‘20


Excerpts from Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik’s
(based on the play by Frank Wedekind)

 Time & Place: a small, provincial German town in the late 19th Century


Scenes & Songs

Act 1, Scene 1
Songs: Mama Who Bore Me”
“Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise)”

Act 1, Scene 2

“All That’s Known”
“The Bitch of Living”

Act 1, Scene 3
Songs: “My Junk”

Act 1, Scene 4

Act 1, Scene 5

Act 1, Scene 7
“The Dark I Know Well”

Act 1, Scene 11
“I Believe”

Act 2, Scene 4
“Totally F***ed”

Finale: “The Song of Purple Summer”

Wendla, Frau Bergman
Wendla Berman
Wendla, Anna, Thea, Martha, Ilse

Herr Sonnenstich, Otto, Georg, Hanschen, Ernst, Moritz, Melchior, Herr Knochenbruch, Fraulein Knuppeldick
Melchior & Boys
Moritz, Georg, Otto, Ernst, Hanschen, Melchior & Boys

Thea, Anna, Wendla, Martha
Wendla, Martha, Anna, Thea, Georg, Hanschen, Fraulein Grossebustenhalter, Herr Rilow, Boys & Girls

Melchior, Frau Gabor, Moritz

Wendla, Melchior

Thea, Anna, Wendla, Martha, Ilse
Martha, Ilse, Frau Bessell, Herr Neumann

Melchior, Wendla
Full Company

Herr Knochenbruch, Fraulein Knuppeldick, Melchior
Full Company

Full Company

First page of the PDF file: SA_Program3



Watch Spring Awakening here!