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Black Box Theatre

courtesy of Bettina Almonte

courtesy of Bettina Almonte

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The lights dim. Music plays, and the audience simmers down into a silence. Then the light comes on over two actors sitting across from each other on a small dinner table, and the comedy begins.

On Jan. 26 Red Bird Productions showed two comedic plays, “It’s Not You, It’s Me” and “That’s Not How I Remember It.” It gave a chance for actors who are not in Theatre Production to perform what they have practiced. For many actors, it was the first time they were cast in a lead role. Senior Henry Martin has been in theatre for four years, and he played the dad in “That’s Not How I Remember It.”

“This show is the first where I have played one of the more central characters,” Martin said. “I am used to playing background characters, playing small bits. This is the first time I have ever been the person who is one of the three main characters.”

Like Martin it was sophomore Rebecca Abebe’s first time to be cast in a main role. Although she had only been in theatre since last year, Abebe saw herself doing it again in future because of how fun it is for her.

“People have told me that I’m a really animated person, and that I should do theatre,” Adebe said. “I really liked it. It was really fun, so I wanted to stay.”

Martin wanted to perform in other volunteer plays outside of school. His experience in this show helped him learn to not procrastinate when memorizing lines.

“From this show, I learned that I need to start practicing a lot earlier,” Martin said.  “I learned what not to do, and that is be cavalier with it. I saw it as kind of a hobby. I looked at the lines every once in a while, and I thought I had them down. When I actually started taking it seriously within the last week, I realized that was not so.”

Martin reflected that had he memorized his script better, then the performance would have been a lot more enjoyable for him. His mistake taught him a valuable lesson, and in coming shows it will be a mistake that he would not repeat.

“I wish I had actually gotten all the lines down much earlier so then I could have inflection and could have had fun with it instead of just memorizing the lines,” Martin said.  “I was in a cold sweat worrying that I would forget a line and trying to figure out how I would improvise if I did forget a line and how could I give this person their cue while still getting the general gist. Instead of just worrying about that and thinking monotonously about saying the words loud enough so people could hear them, I wish I could have focused more on acting over the top, funny and surprised in certain scenes.

The opportunity to perform taught actors valuable lessons. For sophomore Olivia Mustachia, the problems that the cast faced together taught her how individual success did not mean much in an entire production.

“No one memorized their lines until a day before their show,” Mustachia said. “We were so behind schedule, and that had a lot of people recasted. From this show, I learned responsibility because I had a bigger role, and I had more to do. I also learned that it is about everyone to have learned their lines not you just have to learned your lines.”

Although the production had a lot of bumps before the performance, actors were able to have fun with their characters. Mustachia loved exaggerating parts of her character, Catherine.

“I thought my character was fun to play because she was really dumb, and she reminded me of Cher from ‘Clueless,’” Mustachia said. “I could really over-exaggerate my lines and have fun with it. My favorite part of the show was the TV scene when I wanted my boyfriend to turn off the TV, but he would not. I take the remote, and he starts screaming about sports channel.”

That scene in “It’s Not You It’s Me” was exaggerated, but also realistic in that Catherine’s boyfriend was too busy watching his favorite team play to listen to her, so their conversation consisted of a lot of hums. It was relatable and a particularly funny scene for the audience when Catherine started to confront her boyfriend and his comedic response resembled a child with a tantrum. Because it was a comedy, there were a lot of scenes that actors as well as the audience loved. Abebe’s favorite part about her character Lola in “That’s Not How I Remember Itwas her personality.

“I liked how she was shy and wacky at the same time,” Abebe said. “My favorite part of the show was the restaurant scene. It was really funny. It was the scene where Lola is on a date and the waiter hits on her, and Barry, her date, does not do anything at first.”

In “That’s Not How I Remember It,” the dad, played by Henry Martin, and the mom played by Kyshi Garner, retell the story to their kids of how they met. When the story is retold by the dad (Martin) he portrays himself as a karate master which was something Martin really enjoyed about his character.

“He’s a jerk,” Martin said.  “I really enjoy that, and he is very decisive, very definitive with his answers even though it is obviously not true.”

The actors enjoyed both shows. Even though there were a lot of mishaps, Mustachia was pleased with how everything turned out.

“It was really fun,” Mustachia said. “I am happy about how the show ended, and audience seemed to really like it.”

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