For Theatre seniors, their last year at East means the time that they get to produce their very own play. Their Frequent Friday is the representation of everything they’ve learned about theatre at East. Advanced Repertory Theatre is their opportunity to put everything on show.
For Theatre Directors Brian Cappello and Tom DeFeo, this year means more scheduling problems then they’ve faced in the past because of the rising number of students taking the class.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Cappello said. “I mean, it’s a lot better than to not have anybody.”
Increased from 12 last year, there are 16 students enrolled in Advanced Rep. The difference of four kids may seem small, but it makes a huge difference for organizers. With a limited number of dates to schedule Frequent Fridays, four extra kids make scheduling a lot harder. Along with Frequent Fridays, Cappello and DeFeo have to schedule other events going on within the department.
Four mainstages, like the fall play and musical, go into the department’s calendar as well along with four other theatre classes and technical crew workdays. At one point, four Frequent Fridays are in production at one time. Each show needs a place to rehearse day-to-day plus access to the Little Theatre in the days leading up to their respective shows.
According to Cappello, big and and enthusiastic freshmen, sophomore and junior classes seem to be making East’s Theater program look stronger for the future, which could bring back more of the same problems in the future.
To put on their show, the seniors must host their own auditions, cast their shows, create a set, organize actors, set up lighting and sound and finally take their bow after everyone sees all they have accomplished in four years of study. To help with the scheduling issues, some seniors have elected to co-direct a Frequent Friday. A different approach will have to be taken for those who choose to co-direct because they will have to devise a way to split the parts of the show into two parts or work together on everything.
Frequent Fridays, which take about a month to produce, conflict with other Frequent Fridays and mainstage productions. For the Advanced Rep seniors this could mean that less people will audition. With so many shows going on at once, East’s acting talent may be spread thin.
“It’s kind of an inevitable worry that we as a class have, that we won’t get out ideal cast,” Advanced Rep senior Annie Sullivan said.
With such a big class, Sullivan talks about how it can be hard to avoid disagreements.
“There are times when it’s difficult to work together,” Sullivan said. “But since we’ve been together so long it’s also a plus because we’re not afraid to step on each other’s feelings, which in the long run is good for us as a class”
Coming into this year, the seniors knew that the size of their class would present different challenges from last year, other than scheduling. Whether they’re fighting over stage use, giving and receiving criticism or stressing out over their shows, the seniors manage to find a way come out of it together, says Sullivan. According to Sullivan, all the years together make them able to get through almost anything.