Since the beginning of the school year, Centennial Hall’s reopening has led to exciting community events and poignant Reflections. The fall play, a staple of the theater department and Haverford community, is amongst the many traditions looking to take advantage of Centennial Hall’s return. Armed with the play Peter and the Starcatcher, student actors and stage crew members prepare to light the stage once more.
Director Mr. Darren Hengst chose Peter and the Starcatcher for its lightheartedness.
“This year I was really determined to do comedies… After a year of the theater being dark, I wanted to bring some joy to the community, and I think this is a very funny show.”Mr. Darren Hengst
“This year I was really determined to do comedies,” said Mr. Hengst. “After a year of the theater being dark, I wanted to bring some joy to the community, and I think this is a very funny show.”
A prequel to Peter Pan, Peter and the Starcatcher provides familiarity alongside its comedic moments, an aspect that Mr. Hengst believes will add to the audience’s enjoyment.
“This is where we find out how Peter became Peter—how Captain Hook became Captain Hook,” said Mr. Hengst. “It’s written with a very sweet story about Peter and Molly, who’s actually Wendy’s grandmother, which I think the community will enjoy.”
Consistent practices and a substantial time investment are crucial to ensuring a smooth performance. For Mr. Hengst, preparation is key.
“There’s a common misconception that theater is always last minute, but that’s just not true,” said Mr. Hengst. “My goal in every show is for everyone to be as prepared as they possibly can. If they’re prepared and they know what they’re doing and they know what their job is—that just provides them confidence.”
Especially in the weeks before the opening night, actors practice routinely to remember their lines and movements on stage. Fifth Former actor Colin Kelly acknowledges the significant amount of work needed to be done before and during the last week of rehearsals.
“The week leading up to the show is what we call ‘tech week,’ which is rehearsals everyday from 6-9 p.m. We also have an 11 a.m.-7 p.m. rehearsal on the last Sunday before we open,” Kelly said.
Another challenge for the cast involves learning and singing the play’s songs.
“Especially because most people who do the play aren’t trained in singing, it’s difficult to learn the songs,” said Fifth Form actor Julian Caesar. “Still, I think we’ve done really well so far.”
Aside from acting, students must prepare for the shows’ technical aspects.
“[During the week before the show], I’m here Friday doing lights and I’m here Saturday with the stage crew preparing everything for the show,” Mr. Hengst said.
In addition to a busy schedule, actors must also adapt to wearing masks and new equipment while performing.
“Every actor will have body mics on them, and when you introduce body mics, you introduce a lot of complexities with the sound director,” Mr. Hengst said.
Adjusting to the body mics will take some time.
“The mic situation is going to be a little bit complicated, and we’ll need more time during tech week to figure that out,” Kelly said.
Regardless of such changes, the audience should expect the same excitement and passion that they are used to from the theater department.
“It’s going to be a high-energy show because we’re all going to be super psyched to be back on stage.”Colin Kelly ’23
“It’s going to be a high-energy show because we’re all going to be super psyched to be back on stage,” Kelly said.
Including a dress rehearsal on November 18, shows are currently scheduled for November 19-21.
As opening night approaches, Kelly has only one message for the Haverford community: “Show out, Fords.”