Dreaming of Drama Club

Seniors to the Freshmen techies

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The Mikado: Synopsis

What’s a teenager to do when his old man insists he marry an older woman? (Particularly if she’s got a face that would stop a bullet train.) Add to this that father’s word is law because he’s the Emperor of Japan, that he’s politically quite a bit to the right of (well. . . you know!), and he’s also into heavy discipline.

For example, he has passed some pretty stiff laws to keep young punks straight. You can’t even dye your hair puce anymore, or scribble on windowpanes, and don’t even think about cheating at billiards. What he’s really hung up on though is flirting!

All you gotta do is wink at someone and you’re immediately beheaded! I mean total bummer! Being fiscally conservative as well, the Emperor has restructured and rightsized the judicial system so that all judges perform their own executions, thus eliminating a lot of middle management fat.

The obvious answer, if you are inflicted with such a father, is to join the homeless and find work as a street musician.

75c25349f85109e73f6ecd9e413c61ecWhen the Emperor had his fun new laws executed (if you’ll pardon the expression), a bunch of pseudo-intellectual town fathers in a burb called “Titipu” came up with a loophole you could drive a Mitsubishi through. Since the next guy on death row in their town was a wimpy tailor who got caught flirting, they decide to promote him to be Lord High Executioner. The scam was based on the rather thin legal argument that, since he was next in line for beheading, he’d have to cut off his own head before he could cut off anyone else’s. This naturally stretched out the already lengthy appeal process.

While living as a street person, the Emperors son, adopting the dubious name of “Nanki-Poo,” falls for a local groupie named Yum-Yum. Anyway, their romance doesn’t get far because she is engaged to marry her guardian, the above-mentioned wimpy tailor.

Now the bad news for the audience at this point is that even though I’ve laid all these plot details on you, the opera hasn’t even started yet! The Emperor’s son hears that the tailor has been condemned for flirting, but by the time he gets back to Titipu, the tailor has been promoted to executioner and is about to marry Yum-Yum.

At this point we meet the all-time great role model for aspiring public servants, a bureaucrat’s bureaucrat named Pooh-Bah. Pooh-Bah will do or say anything for an appropriate stipend — sort of like politicians we know now. He introduces Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner (nee tailor) who, it turns out, is now a man with a social agenda. For example, if you’ve got flabby hands and peppermint breath, you better hold on to your hat! (And anything you keep in it!)

Ko-Ko, it would also seem, is one of those guys with a strong interest in young girls, all of whom seem to be suffering from terminal giggles. They really get excited when they learn that Nanki-Poo is back in town. By the time they straighten out what’s happening, however, Nanki-Poo is back in the depths of depression.

As part of his wedding preparations, Ko-Ko is busy bribing all of the city officials (namely Pooh-Bah) so that he can get his wedding paid for. During all this, a letter arrives from the Emperor, pointing out that there have been no executions in Titipu for some time and they’d better get cracking.

c627b700e4182aea307b6c5a6524a4d3Suddenly, Ko-Ko is faced with the somewhat unpleasant and technically complicated task of cutting off his own head! His only way out is to quickly find a substitute. Naturally, at this point, in walks poor depressed Nanki-Poo with a rope in his hand. They quickly strike a simple bargain — Nanki-Poo can marry Yum-Yum tomorrow on the condition that he allow Ko-Ko to behead him at the end of a month. Then, as a widow, Yum-Yum would be free to marry Ko-Ko.

This scheme pleases the townspeople and they launch into a celebration, when what to their wondering eyes should appear, but Katisha, the aforementioned ugly older woman! Although Katisha scares everyone half to death, they ignore her attempts to rat on Nanki-Poo so she storms back to Tokyo to fetch the Emperor and while she’s gone, the audience can finally take a break.

When we rejoin the action, Yum-Yum is getting ready for her wedding and having to endure only a few cute jokes from her girl friends about having her wedding plans “cut short” at the end of the month. Unfortunately, Ko-Ko wanders in at this point having just learned from his lawyer (Pooh-Bah — again) that the fine print in the Emperor’s law says that if a married man is beheaded for flirting, his wife must be buried alive! This news, in general, dampens the spirits of the wedding party somewhat. Yum-Yum says, “let’s call the whole thing off” and Nanki-Poo goes despondent on us again.

Meantime, Katisha has fetched the Emperor and they are just coming into town. Ko-Ko, assuming that the Emperor has arrived to see if an execution has taken place, decides he had better come up with one. Nanki-Poo volunteers but Ko-Ko still hasn’t quite mastered his axe-swinging bit yet.

a7368c0f03b966f2a3f8a13c0a6ff6d8Suddenly he comes up with the bright idea of bribing all the city officials (Yep–Heeeer’s Pooh-Bah!) into claiming that he had beheaded Nanki-Poo. In order for this fabrication to hold up, they have to get Nanki-Poo out of town fast. So the Archbishop of Titipu (name of Pooh-Bah) marries him to Yum-Yum and sends them both packing.

Since the Emperor is a great fan of the efficacy of punishment, the detailed description of the decapitation is well received up to the point where Katisha notices the name “Nanki-Poo” on the death certificate. This of course, means that the Emperor must conjure up a suitable punishment for person or persons who inadvertently kill the heir to the throne of Japan. He decides that something lingering, involving boiling oil and melted lead will suffice. While they are heating the cauldrons, the Emperor does lunch.

a5cb410c1ff1fec6bf4e2004e7e44912Since Ko-Ko, Pitti-Sing and Pooh-Bah aren’t particularly hungry, they find Nanki-Poo and try to convince him to come back to life. Nanki-Poo refuses since if Katisha discovers him still alive, she will insist on his and Yum-Yum’s death. They finally decide that the only possible way out of the problem is for Ko-Ko to woo, win and marry Katisha during lunch!

Thus follows a whirlwind romance and a quickie wedding. The relieved Emperor (he finds that not only is his son still alive but he won’t have to put up with Katisha as a daughter-in-law) decides that everything is most satisfactory, and everyone dances off into the sunset.

But you should read it too!

The Mikado Libretto

Alice: A Devised Theatre Project

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Creating the first Scene: Victorian England at Alice Liddel’s Birthday Party

The Homestead High School Theatre Department is creating a World Premiere! That’s right! A never before seen production of Alice in Wonderland. The 38 cast members, 20 crew members and 14 costume girls are all working on a Devised Physical Theatre piece that will tell their own version of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

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The Caucus Race Scene created by the actors, but mainly our Mouse, Haley Stevens

This week the cast started believing in impossible things: they started creating the play.  Starting with a scene not written in any of the books, the 38 students and 3 “tour-guides” conquered the first scene.  Sophomore Emma Zander who plays the White Rabbit says, “I love seeing the enthusiasm as we create. Starting from scratch is ambitious but has given us the opportunity to bond, create the way we want, and get a final product that is beyond satisfying. It’s refreshing to feel the energy going into this production from actors, stage crew, and costume crew.”

The cast and directors of Alice in Wonderland have started using a term: Tour-guides.  Because everyone is creating together the three directors, Ms. Figg-Franzoi, and seniors Grace Bobber and Sam Faber have been referred to as tour-guides more than directors.

Grace Bobber, one of our “tour-guides” tells us that, “Writing a show from almost-scratch is really challenging, especially when everyone has different ideas and visions. But this is what the cooperation and communication of theater is about, especially Homestead Theater. We are a community who must respect and listen to and trust one another. I can’t wait to see how the show comes together through our hard work and team energy.”

Emma Zander who plays the White Rabbit and Sarah Mai who is Alice gearing up for rehearsal

Emma Zander who plays the White Rabbit and Sarah Mai who is Alice gearing up for rehearsal

The actor who will be creating the role of Alice is Junior, Sarah Mai.  She spoke today about the process, “Rehearsals this week primarily focused around collaborating with the fellow actors and examining the text to decide which parts most benefited our plot and character development. I found that starting a show from scratch is a very empowering activity for actors as it forces you to make important creative decisions and take risks. I found that reading several versions of a scene interpreted by multiple playwrights opens my eyes to taking liberties with texts. I cannot wait to continue exploring devised theatre and await more weeks of the same fun!

The feeling in general is that of excitement.  Stay tuned for more updates with this world premiere.

Alice in Wonderland premieres in the James Barr Auditorium at Homestead High School on Oct 17th at 7:30.

October 17 and 18th @ 7:30

October 19th @ 2:00

Adults $8
Students $7

Homestead High School * 5000 W. Mequon Rd. Mequon WI 53092

Smooth Landing: Notes on Stage Managing

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I’ve got a little list

And it’s started!  One of our students started writing lyrics for “I’ve got a Little List”  in our musical “The Mikado.”  This song traditionally pokes fun at current events, so we are thinking about having a bit of fun making fun of our lovable Homestead High School.

Here’s what one student has written!

“As someday it may happen that a victim must be found
I’ve got a little list; I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed–they never would be missed!

There’s the girl who walks in late to school every single day,
“The line at Starbucks got a little long today.”
The girls that show up to school like it’s New York Fashion Week,
who inspires you to give up trying to look a little chic.
And the crazy drama teacher with gold hair curled to a twist
They’d none of them be missed, they’ll none of them be missed!

He’s got ‘em on the list–he’s got ‘em on the list;
And they’ll none of ‘em be missed–they’ll none of ‘em be missed.”

Alice in Wonderland Cast List!!!

CONGRATS ALL!!! YOU ARE ALL CAST IN THE SHOW!!!!

 The first rehearsal is Monday, everyone is called! 3-5pm!

 Everyone is in the ensemble if you aren’t in the scene.  But maybe you don’t have time to do all that work.  You can choose to not be in a scene.  If you don’t show up for the rehearsals you will not be blocked within the scene.

People who cannot be in the Ensemble:

Alice
White Rabbit
Queen of Hearts

Mad Hatter
March Hare
Cheshire Cat

Cast List:
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 Alice
Sarah Mai

Cheshire Cat
Amanda Albright
Alessandra Gouverneur

Bill the Lizard
William Toney

White Rabbit
Emma Zander

Duchess
Silma Berrada

Cook
Lily Higgins

Frog
Teighlor McGee

Tweedledee and Tweedledum
Emily Boehlke and Jessie Schoessow

Caterpillar
Sam Ginkel

Caterpillar Body:
Lauren Burghardt
Serena Zacharias
Sarah Verespej
(others can be added)

Unicorn
Katie McCarthy

Lion
Emily Limbach

MAD TEA-PARTY
            March Hare – Alexis Thompson
            Mad Hatter – Alex Gieske
            Dormouse – Sarah Verespej

CHESS PIECES
            White Queen – Maddie Fricker
            Red Knight – Mike Stevens
            White Knight – George Ballesteros
            White King – Andrew Lococo

CARDS
            Queen of Hearts – Maggie Collins
            King of Hearts – Nick Gardison
            Knave of Hearts – Dan Urbanczyk
            Card – Riley Truttman
            Card – Erin Carley
            Card – Sarah Sullivan

FLOWERS:
            Tigerlily – Lauren Burghardt
            Rose – Andrea Tirsky
            Violet – Serena Zacharias
            Daisy 1 – Lexi LaBelle         
            Daisy 2 – Leah Neusen
            Daisy 3 – Taylor Wicklund

 CAUCUS RACE
            Lory – Lexi Lipkowitz
            Duck – Andrea Greuel
            Old Magpie – Katherine Glueckert
            Mouse – Haley Stevens
            Dodo – Kristina Smeshko
            Egret – Miranda Grisa

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