By Illeana Baquero
Lights! Curtain! This November, the Varley Players opened their annual fall show. This year, we put on a stellar production of Peter and the Starcatcher, a comedic play which tells the story of Peter Pan before he met Wendy.
From September to November, the entire cast and crew of this show worked tirelessly, often having five or six rehearsals a week, until it was polished and performance-ready. In the very beginning, all cast members had to develop their English accents (or Italian for some) and learn the blocking for each of their scenes from our director, Mr. Lopez. At the same time, our music director, Mr. Piali, helped the cast learn the songs they would need to sing throughout the show.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gulick, Ms. Brooks, and the construction crew built the set pieces that would serve as a Victorian ship, and as a mysterious island later on in the show.
As showtime grew nearer, our rehearsal space transitioned from Bobcat Hall to the stage, and the production grew more elaborate. Our lighting and projection designer, Mr. Flanagan, came in to design the lighting and projections for each scene in the show. Actors began working with costumes and makeup, while prop, makeup, lighting, and run crews helped to ensure that the show would run smoothly.
As far as the show itself, senior Alex Dempsey, who played the role of Bill Slank, observed how it set itself apart from previous productions. “I think what was really awesome and unique about this show was how involved the ensemble was. In most shows, the ensemble is usually in the back while the leads take charge of the stage. In this production, however, practically everybody was both a principal character and ensemble, which allowed for so many people to shine on stage.”
As you could imagine, rehearsing and performing so often with the same group of people leads to the formation of a unique bond between cast-mates and crew-mates. Speaking for the cast, we made countless memories together over the course of the last few months, and shared lots of laughs. “Something about this show felt different,” said senior Jake Wild, who played the role of Smee in Peter and the Starcatcher. “Everybody truly felt like they were connected, and everybody was friends with each other. We hadn’t had it before where everybody was so close.”
To be a part of the Byram Hills theatre program is to be a part of a family, and the experiences shared by the company of Peter and the Starcatcher truly highlighted this. Freshman Matthew Giovanetti joined the Varley Players for his first-ever high school show this fall, and he starred as Peter. Thinking back on his experience, Matt said: “As a freshman, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined the Varley Players theater company. I was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming community of passionate and talented actors. I had a great time making new friends, and can’t wait for the next show.”
For those who want to support the Varley Players, be sure to come watch our winter musical, Guys and Dolls, in March 2020!