Second String, last year’s Theater III* production, pioneered the student-written play for the Theater III* class. Following its success, the current Theater III* students look to write their own unique and ambitious show: a comedy murder mystery.
The show, with the tentative title of On Board, revolves around a CEO’s yacht party and the eventual disappearance of one of the party attendees. Along with the intriguing plot, the cast of characters holds some of the show’s most entertaining aspects.
“There are some detectives that come in that have their own ‘personal issues,’ and we also have a son who has an IQ of negative five,” Fifth Former Jaiden Shuchman said. “We’ve got a great group of characters that I think people would enjoy.”
In addition to developing the characters, the class has also been working on fine-tuning scenes on stage.
“We’ve also been blocking some scenes. We’ve been putting them on stage and seeing what happens,” Shuchman said. “It’s pleasing to see, and it also gives us good workshopping advice. It’s like reading your own paper out loud—you see the issues with it, you see the fallacies with it—and I think that doing this has been a good experience for workshopping our own writing and also working on collaborative writing.
Through this process, the class can identify what needs to be added, replaced, and removed from the script. When brainstorming scenes, the class has adopted a unique system that stays true to the lightheartedness of the script.
“Usually we have groups go off and write their own scenes.”Colin Kelly ’23
“Usually we have groups go off and write their own scenes,” Fifth Former Colin Kelly said. “I think it’s great because we get all these ideas, and once we come together and revise the ideas, we usually just end up laughing most of the time because of how great and funny the scenes are.”
As the Theater III* students continue writing the show, they acknowledge that they have encountered certain difficulties throughout the writing process.
“Unfortunately, the schedule with the quarter system has really limited our time working on this project, so we haven’t been able to get as much done as we would’ve liked to,” Kelly said.
A large, ambitious class required much time to develop the play’s intricacies. But with a limited time frame due to Sixth Formers’ early departure, the class is finding difficulty fully fleshing out the plot.
“Because the seniors leave on May 20, our time is pretty limited,” Kelly said. “And because we have such a big class of sixteen people, we have to have a really big cast in the show, which means that there are a lot of parts to write, a lot of characters to consider, and a lot of plot points to get done.”
Furthermore, a significant portion of the class has limited experience with writing a show, which leads to certain aspects of the production being overlooked.
“I feel like the hardest part is that most of us haven’t written a show before, and I feel like we spent too much time setting up the plot, setting up the characters, and revising everything multiple times.”Jaiden Shucman ’23
“I feel like the hardest part is that most of us haven’t written a show before, and I feel like we spent too much time setting up the plot, setting up the characters, and revising everything multiple times,” Shuchman said. “Especially in a limited time frame such as this—we weren’t aware of the issues [revising the script multiple times] would cause until pretty recently.”
Although the production doesn’t have a finalized performance date yet, the class is working diligently to ensure the show is at the highest quality it can be. In the end, the goal is to produce a show that both the class and audience can enjoy.
“Whether or not we perform an award-winning show has nothing to do with how much fun we have doing it,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to make something that’s entertaining, coherent, and fun for everyone to watch.”