Students on stage – The Press
Green Bay East students are ready to open the curtain and transport audiences to the magical fairy tale world of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical — a show which Choir, Voice and Musical Theatre Director Maureen Tjoflat said has been very popular among the cast.
“It’s a children’s story that most of the students knew — there were a couple who had not read the book or seen the old movie — so it’s a really well-known fairy tale,” she said. “It has some elements of childhood, like being afraid or having a teacher who’s crabby or you think they don’t like you. It has those elements, but there’s also a lot of fun in it so it’s a terrific family show.”
Tjoflat said the show is relatable for not only the cast, but also for audiences of all ages.
“Kids like it. Adults like it. It’s got some humorous moments that everyone can relate to,” she said. “And I think people can see themselves — maybe they were the goofy kid.”
The fun part for the students involved in the production, Tjoflat said, has been the opportunity to re-immerse themselves in, and maybe even reimagine, their childhoods.
“For our actors, the fun has been that we’re taking the high school students and playing them as children,” she said. “In a community production, you might audition children and then have adults for some other roles, but it’s been really fun to let [the students] play their inner child or something that may be different from how their childhood was and dive into that role of storytelling.”
That’s not to say the rehearsal process has been all fun and games, though, as Tjoflat said she is still seeing some lingering effects of COVID and the experiences and knowledge students may have missed out on during the pandemic.
“This year feels like it’s a really solid year coming back from COVID,” she said. “COVID was a few years ago, but in terms of residual effects on performing classes and music classes and theater, it’s taken a while… We had some very talented kids last year that were veteran kids who were really experienced… So we have that, but we also have a bunch of kids who are just learning everything… Things that they might have learned or experienced maybe at one point but they didn’t get a chance to. We’re still seeing that, and it’s been really fun to bring some new students in and have our older kids also be a great example to them.”
In addition to improving their skills on stage, Tjoflat said students have also been hard at work behind the scenes.
“Especially this year, the technical area has beefed up,” she said. “We have a performance technologies club at East this year and they’ve kind of revamped and added some things to the yearly plan for what students are learning. So every week, they have a key lesson and then they support the performances… It’s really great to be part of that team and to see the work that’s being done. We have a fun set and we’ve got some cool special effects.”
Tjoflat said she is looking forward to seeing her students’ hard work pay off.
“It’s been a ton of work,” she said. “A lot of work, but the story is terrific, the music’s fun and it’s got some great elements that I think kids and adults will like.”
Performances of Matilda are scheduled for Nov. 3, 4 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 1 p.m.
Tickets are available at showtix4u.com/event-details/77088.
Seymour High School
For its Fall 2023 season, Seymour High School will be hosting a unique performance that’s titled “A Night With Seymour Theater…What Could Go Wrong?”
Much like its Spring 2023 performance The Cracked Act Improv Troupe, a night dedicated to the art of improv humor, “A Night With Seymour Theater” will be unlike a traditional play.
In a press release, this two-act performance is described as “a hilarious evening of mishaps, fails, unplanned events, disastrous theatrical experiences, and a behind-a-tattered-curtain look to examine what happens when a play goes terribly wrong!”
Performances start Nov. 2 at 7:00 p.m., with additional showtimes on Nov 3 and 4 at 7:00 p.m., and another performance at 1:00 p.m. on Nov. 4.
All performances will be taking place at the Seymour High School Auditorium at 10 Circle Drive, Seymour.
For more information about the fall play and to purchase tickets, please visit seymourtheater.com or contact the Seymour High School Office at (920) 833-2306; tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.
St. Norbert College
St. Norbert College’s theatre program will open the curtain on its production of Kate Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice, based on the novel by Jane Austen, Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Although set in the world and time period of Austen, Director Stephen Rupsch said the show incorporates elements of the modern world which the cast has enjoyed balancing to make a show that appeals to a modern audience — and leans into current trends.
“One of the things that we were talking about with this particular piece is that it’s a period piece, but there are a lot of little indicators that made it more contemporary,” he said. “There’s a little Bridgerton-ish thing happening. And because people seem to be interested in that, we knew we weren’t going to try to do something that is completely a period show… But we can certainly go towards that so that we can build a really fun world for the audience.”
The show isn’t only fun for the audience, though, as Rupsch said it has also been a bright spot for the students involved.
“It’s really joyous to be able to work with young actors in this particular moment in time, too, because I think that we can all use a little comedy right now,” he said. “There’s something about the seriousness of the world right now that lacks a great deal of humor.”
Rupsch said the show uses humor to shed light on problems many people experience and show that some things are just a part of life — whether that life takes place in the present day or the 21st century — and help viewers see that they are not so alone.
“We’re looking at human behavior and we’re laughing at it,” he said. “We’re laughing at ourselves. We love integrity. We love passion. We also see that sometimes you end up falling on your butt, but that’s a very normal kind of human thing to experience. And especially to know that there are certain things that over two time periods seem to be the same — like people follow love and they are stupid and they say bad things to each other without meaning to and then they have to make up for it.”
Performances of Pride and Prejudice will take place at 7:30 p.m. in St. Norbert’s Webb Theatre each night from Nov. 7-11.
Tickets and more details can be found at snc.edu/tickets.
UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance also has a production opening this weekend — William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
In Measure for Measure, protagonist Isabella finds herself trapped between the competing interests of The Duke, his deputy and her brother.
The audience is invited to follow along as Isabella navigates a tangled web of power, repression and gender politics, finding solace in the free-living, free-loving and often hilarious outcasts.
The show is directed by Alan Kopischke with costumes and makeup design by Kaoime Malloy, scenic and properties design by Sera Shearer and technical direction and lighting design by Dinesh Yadav.
Source: Students on stage – The Press