Drama department director Brian Frishman (center) has selected this year's play: a drama called "Paper Chase." The play will be performed Nov. 20 and 21.

Frishman switches it up, choosing a drama, not a comedy, for the fall play: ‘The Paper Chase’

The fall play,“The Paper Chase,” hand-picked by Brian Frishman, director of the drama department, will be a drama.

Having a more dramatic play as opposed to the regular light-hearted comedy is something many are looking forward to, including the actors in this upcoming play. ( Last year’s plays, “Seven Stories” and “Charlie’s Aunt,” had elements of drama, but were primarily comedies.

It’s the story of a study group at Harvard Law School in the ‘70s. The lead, James Hart, falls in love with Susan Kingsley, who is incidentally the daughter of strict Professor Kingsley.

“It’s about things that students deal with: the stress of tough academics, how to balance your social life and your studies, dealing with some people that do have balance, and some that don’t,” Frishman said.

Senior Gracie Strumpfer, who has been acting at Country Day for 10 years, said she’s excited about “Paper Chase.”

“My dad’s seen the movie, so he’s actually familiar with the play,” Strumpfer said. “It talks about things that we actually deal with in school.”

The play is set to take stage Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20-21, but Frishman and others are already thinking ahead. In an attempt to encapsulate the scenery of Harvard, there are several scenes with different backdrops in the play.

With Country Day’s petite stage, that poses a problem.

“The staging is a little difficult,” Frishman said. “There are six locations (in the play), and we need them all. So they are all going to be onstage on once, and we’ll use stage lights to change location.”

Another dilemma, Frishman said, is  a lack of actresses. Since many students want small parts this year, this script was perfect because there are many small parts and only one lead. But in the freshman class particularly, more boys signed up than girls, and not many of the girls who are traditionally in the plays signed up this year.

“In (the freshman class) there were a lot of strong actors that either didn’t stay (at Country Day), or that couldn’t be in it this year,” Frishman said.

Despite the challenges, Frishman and many students seem optimistic and excited.

Freshman Luca Procida has been working with Frishman for over four years  and acted in the high-school play “Enemy, I”  four years ago.

“Mr. Frishman has a lot of faith in us,” Procida said, “He knows what to do because he’s been doing this for a long time. I’m in no way nervous.

“We haven’t done a play like this. It’s a different play. It’s sort of slow-paced and fast-paced at the same time with lots of characters and constant interaction and development between the characters.”

Although the play is different, the jovial, relaxed atmosphere of the drama class is the same.

Junior Jaelan Trapp has been part of Frishman’s drama program for for the past three years.

“It’s a good environment,” Trapp said. “We work hard on what we need to do, and when the play comes (the night of the performance), we know what to do if we’ve worked on it.”

Auditions were held last Thursday, but sign-ups are still available. Frishman encourages interested students, even those who have never been in drama before, to sign up.

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