Tonight is junior Alex Lang’s second performance of Shrek, and he doesn’t have any lines memorized.
Lang isn’t too worried. Throughout the two and a half hour show, he will spend a maximum of two minutes on stage. He won’t spend an hour smearing his face with makeup. His costume consists of a black shirt, black pants and a six foot tall purple and gold foam dragon.
For Lang’s two minutes in the spotlight, he will sit in the puppet’s belly, manipulating levers above his head to open the eye and mouth and cranking pedals with his feet to rotate the body back in forth.
“The dragon is pretty complex, just because you have to move all of it in sync to Abby [Cramer] singing,” Lang said. “The first run through was pretty rough, but once you got ten or fifteen minutes in it you get the hang of it.”
He was first introduced to the dragon — fondly nicknamed “Martha” — while working on the set for The Children’s Hour. The dragon was unpainted and unfinished, but Lang was still immediately interested in operating the puppet for the musical.
As the only boy to express interest in operating the dragon, Lang was given the part, which he started rehearsing two weeks before tech week. Although he struggled in getting the timing right in the first few rehearsals, Lang is proud with how far he’s come.
“I’ve gotten to a point where I’m really confident in my ability to hit it perfectly,” Lang said. “But at the same time, I just have to start fresh every time and not feel over-confident because I’ve done it perfectly in the past. We’ll have to see, but I personally think it’s going to go very smoothly.”