By: Monica Duggan
Every year Duxbury High School’s Drama Club participates in the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild’s State Festival. This competition is the championship game for drama clubs across the state, and it can get a bit intense. Every play must be under forty minutes long, a second over and the show is automatically eliminated. Then before the show begins the crew of the play has exactly five minutes to assemble the set. Every movement has to be deliberate, and mistakes cannot be made. This is a game where even .01 seconds can lose you the competition. Also, any cell phone use during yours, or any schools performance is another cause for elimination.
Duxbury High School has selected to put on David Auburn’s Proof at this years festival. This show was chosen by student director Emily Z. and director Darin MacFarlane. Proof’s original script would be a little over a two hour production. “The most creative aspect on my part was the cutting of the script, it took all summer but it came out beautifully,” Emily said as she explained the care it took to squeeze all of the material into a forty minute show.
The next crucial part to show, after cropping the script was designing the set. Senior Jamie P. was selected as this years set designer after submitting an impressive sketch of what she hoped the set to look like. Jamie’s drawing came to life over February vacation when many Duxbury students volunteered their time to build the set. Jamie said, “I came up with the concept of a house that isn’t fully there or transparent, just like the family is.” The message behind the set was conveyed well enough to score Jamie a set design award at the preliminary competition.
Jack D, who is in charge of lighting in all of Duxbury’s productions, and also plays Robert in Proof also won an award at the preliminary round. Jack won an awarded for his artistic lighting. He said the biggest challenge he faced was, “creating effective tension by playing with the lights focus.” The lighting in this show effectively delivers contrast between day and night, and highlights the productions plot twists.
In the forty minutes of Proof you will laugh, cry, and feel the frustration of the characters. Jared M, who plays Hal the math geek that eventually falls for his mentor’s daughter, takes getting into character very seriously. Jared expresses that he sees Hal as a person not just a character. When asked on his usual ritual to get into character he said, “I like to go somewhere quiet and not talk and just think about what Hal’s values are. I develop this nervous walk and just walk in circles and say certain lines to myself.” This attitude was adopted by all members of the four person cast. It was this mind set that was successfully executed at the state festival’s preliminary round on March 1st that sent Duxbury through to the the next round.
Moving on to the next round means that Duxbury will be hosting and performing the semi-finals at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center. It also gives the cast a chance to change some of their character flaws. Ginny W, who captures the audience’s attention in her role as Claire, said, “Each time can be different seeing what’s more natural so it’s a constant process of reworking the script.” Along with the cast, the crew has to keep rehearsing the set build up and break down. Assistant stage manager Olivia S. said, “If people panic it can easily go wrong because they start to do stuff nervously just to get it in a place.”
When it comes to the day of competition everyone is on edge. Kellianna S, on production day, said, “As part of the crew we all just do our best to make sure everything goes smoothly. We try to make sure there are no mistakes that could potentially psych out the cast.” Still, each school has to sit through all of the performances and watch their competition. Skyler W, who draws emotion from the audience in her role as Catherine, says that, “Watching the competition is both my favorite and least favorite part of the festival. It’s enjoyable but so hard not to psych yourself out!”
Duxbury’s production of Proof has been in the works since June of last year. The cast and crew will perform at the State Semifinals on Saturday, March 15th.