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Behind the Scenes: The Fairview Theater Program

By Ian Vasquez in Arts & Culture - featured

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Our school has a renowned theater department that many students have gotten involved in, or at least tried to. However, many students have unanswered questions surrounding the department, how it works and what it is like to be in it.

Fairview is known for its shows--Pops, the Spring Play, One Acts and the Fall Musical.

“I’d definitely say it’s stressful, but I think it’s worth it in the end,” said senior Trevor Giltner.

A large number of theater students try out to be a part of the Fall Musical.

“[The musicals] have anywhere between 90, sometimes as many as 120 people [who audition]...less than half [are accepted],” said theater teacher and director Lanny Boyer.

Sarah Halstead, the technical film director, points out that the spotlight isn’t the only place for students to be involved with theater. 

“The Stagecraft classes...have always had high numbers,” said Halstead. “A lot of students have interest in learning how [to] build elements. How does the lighting work? How do you work the soundboard?”

Halstead also said that more students tend to try and get involved with the musical compared to other shows.

”It’s a show that everyone wants to be a part of, and so maybe there are newer members to the school, mostly freshmen, that didn’t get into the cast but still want to be involved in someway.”

But, some students might say, what about the spring play?

“I think the musical is the most popular. The play is also usually pretty popular but the musical always brings out the biggest crowd,” said junior Dylan Weaver, a large contributor to the theatre industry at the school.

Just like any other activity or skill that one wishes to excel at, the musical takes time commitment from the students and the staff involved.

“Once you get into the process and you feel, and you recognize immediately that it’s not just showing up at a 7:45 and leaving at 3:30...That compounds stress significantly, and someone who hasn’t done that is likely to experience greater dropout and greater failure rate than those who are used to it,” Boyer said. 

The musical, being the debatably most popular show, is said to be very challenging to get into.

“It’s you in front of three or four adults, so that [is] kind of stressful but you have to show who you are, you have to show character, you have to show your vocal range for the auditions,” Weaver said.

“I think they really try to do it by skill and how well people fit the part, but I also think that there is a factor of their opinion of the student and I think it at least influences their decision to a certain point,” Giltner said.

Mr. Boyer shed some light on the specifics of selecting people for the auditions, and on what negativity the auditions received.

“Well the number one factor is: Have I worked with them before? Trust. Trust. Will they make my call times, will they not skip rehearsal? Will they do what the actors contract to do, which is learn the role?” said Boyer.

“As far as the run crew backstage who move the background pieces, we base that on their attendance to build: Who can come really often, who’s really committed? Who’s shown that they have a lot of interest in being present and being a part of the program?” said Halstead.

For anyone looking to get into any of the productions at school, there is some valuable advice to be taken both the teachers and the students involved.

“You have to take risks really, especially when singing,” said Weaver. “Try to bring out the acting side to it—don’t be just bland and sing. For callbacks just make really daring choices--stick out. Maybe they’ll see that you can be something crazy and realize that you’re a good fit for the show.”

“You need to be part of the program, make yourself visible. The business itself… is an industry that’s built on trust. If you can establish that trust prior to the audition you are only giving yourself a leg up. You have to be known to the director...You have no idea how far that goes. Saying, ‘hi, my name is…’ and, ‘I can’t wait to audition’... Then when you show up to the audition I know that you’ve been interested in it. That gives me courage and confidence [in you],” Boyer said.

 

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