A fairytale pantomime titled Peter Pan, Performed by Samantha Hatfield, Felicity Santo-Domingo, Jaco Sodhi (Photo: Jungyeon Lee, The Puma Prensa)
By Alexa Rios, a&e editor, and Jungyeon Lee, graphics editor
Encore, the Maria Carrillo High School theater program, is known for its excellent performances and exquisite actors. The theater classes, which include Drama 1 and Drama 2, have one exhibition in fall and one in the spring to display the progress they have made throughout the year. We had the pleasure of enjoying the fall Theater and Film Showcase, which featured short pantomime skits of classic fairy tales from Drama 1, and monologues, scenes, and songs from Drama 2.
The Theater and Film Showcase is an opportunity for students to share their in-class work according to the theater class teacher, Denise Elia-Yen. For some, this is their first opportunity to present pieces they intend to compete with later in the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival, a statewide competition for high school theater and stagecraft students all over California. “The classes have been preparing all semester thus far. All the work leading up to this point has been in support of this showcase,” Elia-Yen said. She added, “It helps them to test their material before an audience in advance of that competition to gain clarity and feedback.” The showcase counts toward drama students’ performance grade for their mid-term in December. Other students in the program, and their friends and families, can view the work as part of the audience.
To begin with, Drama 1 had seven performances of fairy tales, from The Three Little Pigs to Peter Pan. Two of our favorite performances from Drama 1 were pantomimes of Pinnocchio, starring Luca Parks, Evan Sullivan, and Lucas Trudeau and Peter Pan starring Samantha Hatfield, Felicity Santo-Domingo, and Jaco Sodhi. These performances showed a variety of movements and expressions that left a lasting impression on the audience. Their rapid pace, without even talking, gave us a pretty good idea of the story, and had a cartoon-like way of moving that displayed vivid emotion. The costume choices, though simple, elevated the pieces from simple fairy tales to complex pantomimes.
The second performance we loved was a quick pantomime of Peter Pan where the movements played an important role. For example, when Peter Pan gave the Darling children the imaginary pixie dust to fly, they used their arms and legs to make the impression that they were soaring across the sky. The hat that Peter Pan wore also looked like the one from Disney’s classic movie. Overall, Drama 1 has executed impressive techniques that helped them convey the story, even without talking, and we cannot wait to see their further improvement for the Spring Showcase.
Some notable performances in Drama 2 were “Not Getting Married Today,” a song from the musical Company, performed by Isabella Limper, and the song “What Do I Need with Love” from the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, performed by Diego Rodriguez. Overall, the Drama 2 performances were exceptional.
The advanced student performers who stood out to us the most were John Schieberl and Ethan White, junior and senior respectively. They had two performances together, both of which got thunderous applause and praise from the audience, including ourselves. Their first performance was from The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), which is a famous parody of the original plays by William Shakespeare. Schieberl and White came across the play last year and experimented with it by changing up some lines and choreography. White was the one who suggested going with this play for the fall showcase. They also performed the song “What Causes That” from the musical Crazy for You at the end of the night.
Stagecraft students Isa Tardioli and Asher Lenox worked in the background to prepare the show by turning on amps and microphones. They were also the ones to control the music and lights during the showcase. The only stagecraft display included in the showcase was a costume in the lobby crafted by senior Sumithra Smith. Tardioli stated that the stagecraft class plans to show off more of their works in the Spring Showcase because the stagecraft class didn’t have enough time to produce any original creations this time. They had been too busy with A Midsummer’s Night Dream and the Haunt.
Elia-Yen summed it up the best: “The emphasis is work-in-progress: We’re celebrating the journey, not the destination, and giving students a chance to support each other on their creative growth.”