Sophomore Aidan Galati, senior Savannah Symister and sophomore Akilan Murugesan play radio stars Cleo Riviera, Audrey Ross and Carter Lane in the high-school play “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night,” which premieres on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. (Photo by Cissy Shi)

Stage set for winter play

“Not many people like Sam Slaughter (junior George Cvetich), the world’s most reclusive mystery writer. He’s just fired the aging star of his radio mystery show (senior Savannah Symister), and he’s two-timing another star (sophomore Aidan Galati) with a brainless showgirl (sophomore Emma Belliveau).

“He’s also yelled at his butler (freshman Austin Talamantes), his agent (sophomore Gracie Strumpfer) and the show’s producer (freshman Christian Van Vleck). To make matters worse a woman from his past (freshman Isabelle Leavy) shows up with some incriminating evidence…”

That’s how the high-school play “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” is described on the website Eldridge Plays and Musicals.

According to Leavy, the play is full of secrets and suspense that will keep the audience gasping.

Leavy, who plays Sheila Sylvester, appreciates that the play changes from a horror story to a murder mystery filled with laughs by the end.

However, she does admit that the play is hard to follow at times.

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Sophomore Akilan Murugesan plays Carter Lane, the suave star of the radio show.

“It’s a radio show inside a play, so you can see how the actors act in the radio show and out of it,” Murugesan said.

Director Brian Frishman chose the play, written by Craig Sodaro, because of the large cast with mostly medium roles and the comedic script.

Frishman has been directing at SCDS for nine years and has even written some of the school plays.

“I wrote one two years ago and then I had a class where the class and I wrote one, four years ago,” Frishman said.

When the actors need it, Frishman helps with their characterization, sometimes recommending movies.

“He recommended ‘Love Actually’ to help me with my character, the producer,” Van Vleck said.

The play was originally set in the ’30s but was moved to the contemporary era by Frishman, mainly to simplify costumes and to make the play easier for the freshmen and beginning actors.

Talamantes believes that the biggest challenge for the actors is how to move on stage, though the actors usually get help from Frishman.

“Frishman always helps and tells us where we’re supposed to be standing and how we should be angled toward the crowd,” he said. “It’s a two-second fix for your shoulders.”

However, Frishman said he thinks the biggest problem was low attendance at rehearsals.

“No one will be as good as they could have been,” Frishman said.

Freshmen Austin Talamantes and Isabelle Leavy rehearse their roles as Mr. Fielding and Sheila Sylvester. (Photo by Cissy Shi)
Freshmen Austin Talamantes and Isabelle Leavy rehearse their roles as Mr. Fielding and Sheila Sylvester. (Photo by Cissy Shi)

Many actors aren’t concerned, though. According to sophomore Elinor Hilton, some actors don’t believe their absence at rehearsals will affect the play.

Sophomore Akilan Murugesan missed the night when teacher Joel Rickert had discussed costumes.

Rickert is designing the costumes for the play and has done costume design for middle-school and high-school plays with Frishman for eight years.

To begin the costume design process, Rickert will read the script and determine the season and year of the play.

Then, Rickert will visit thrift stores and Decades, a costume store owned by a friend, to find costume parts.

And, in this play, many actors have items at home which they can bring, charging Rickert with the task of figuring out how to put the pieces together.

For example, a minor character that would wear jeans and a shirt or a dress could simply bring their own clothes from home.

But for a few people figuring out the best night to come proves to be a bit difficult.

“It depends. Everyone has a lot of nervous energy the first night and we put on a energetic performance but that leads to mistakes sometimes. The second night typically has less mistakes and the last night tends to be the sloppiest but sometimes we goof around a lot,” senior Patrick Talamantes said.

The play will be showing in the MP Room Dec. 12-14 at 7 p.m. every night.

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