While school plays seem to pop up out of nowhere, a lot of effort is put in behind the scenes that what the audience sees on stage represents just a fraction of the work required in order to pull off the show. From creating props and sets to learning line after line of dialogue and stage directions, the cast and crew have been hard at work for months getting “One Man Two Guvnors” ready for audiences in November.
Over in the theatre, many of the crews for the show such as carpentry, paint and props are working in order to create the sets that the actors would perform in during the show. The production crews have strayed from their normal set design techniques and have started experimenting with drop scenes and a faux proscenium for the theater, which acts as a large decorated frame that surrounds the stage. The backgrounds are built on drop scenes that can be lowered during transitions. Using forced perspective, the flat backdrops would appear as large, expansive rooms for the actors to perform in.
“If this new building method proves to be successful, hopefully we can use it during later shows like “Young Frankenstein” instead of a single static set,” director and drama teacher Danyelle Bossardet said.
The setting for the play presented many challenges for the actors, from the wide range of accents used throughout the play to the type of comedy the actors must perform. Known as commedia dell’arte, this form of comedy is much more tongue-in-cheek compared to Northwood’s previous plays.
“The type of jokes we have to perform is very subtle, and at the same time, not so subtle at all,” junior Chris Kassir, who plays Francis, said. “It’s also a lot more energetic. Everything has to be at 100 percent, otherwise a lot of our jokes wouldn’t land well with anyone in the audience.”
Accents have been a major focus of the cast, since every actor has a unique accent that expresses each character’s distinct personalities. While they are all considered to be forms of an English accent, some characters might have a London dialect, while others have a Brighton dialect.
“Some characters are even trying to imitate the dialects of others,” senior Ian Gibson said. “For instance, I play Alan and he is trying to imitate a posh London accent but he sounds so over-the-top.”
Despite these challenges, the cast and crew are looking forward to the many jokes and innuendos the show presents to the audience. Fourth wall breaks are scattered across the dialogue of the play, and some actors are even able to improvise lines on the spot, making each performance unique.
“I think maybe 20 percent of my lines are improvised, and that’s mainly due to all of the audience participation we have in this play,” Kassir said.
Tickets are currently available to purchase online for shows from Nov. 13-17.