Drawing away the curtains: Upper school performing arts prepares upcoming fall play


Nicole Chen

Director Jeffrey Draper explains the layout of a scene to the cast during rehearsals. The play is five acts long and has a run time of about two hours.

by Nicole Chen and Kaidi Dai

While the cast of the Fall Play will perform “The Comedy of Errors” from Oct. 26 to 28, the performing arts department began preparations for the production as early as a year in advance.

Director of the play and theater teacher Jeffrey Draper started brainstorming themes and ideas last year, and the cast put in hours of work and commitment in rehearsals beginning early September.

For this year’s “The Comedy of Errors,” Draper and the cast hope to highlight the entertaining nature of the play, which features twin brothers separated at birth who are determined to reconcile while living in different cities.

The rehearsal process began after auditions with rehearsals five days a week, starting with table readings and eventually staging actors in their respective positions.

“[Rehearsals have been] creative [and] self-drive because [Mr. Draper] doesn’t actually tell us what to do, but he just lets us figure out what we want to do in the play,” Katelyn Chen (10), who plays Second Merchant, said.

The cast has also been working on creative elements of the play, including further defining character roles and interactions within specific moments.

“After blocking, we work the scenes and actors put their scripts down and memorize their lines. [We] just make the moments tighter and funnier,” Draper said. “Then, we run the show a bunch for the last two weeks, so everyone’s really comfortable with everything. All the props and costumes start arriving, and we just put all the pieces together.”

Rehearsals prove to be crucial, since the cast works with their lines while embodying their characters’ personalities during rehearsals.

“I think discovering actions in a scene really make it more interesting because when you just get the script, it’s not a play yet, it’s just a script,” Maxwell Woehrmann (12), who plays Antipholus of Syracuse, said. “In rehesarsal, when we’re having it slowly come together as a play, we’re getting really good moments out of scenes.”

The Harker community can watch the cast of “The Comedy of Errors” perform three shows at the Blackford theater from Oct. 26 to 28.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on October 12, 2017.