Spring play: different setting, different feeling


Madelyn Knight

Senior Ryan Pennington texts on his phone during the production of subText.

Madison Gomez, Reporter

Pink, blue and purple blinding lights, pop music playing and a black line right in front of my feet. This was a whole new theater environment than previous years. Sitting in the hard plastic chairs without armrests, the discomfort I felt throughout the play made me miss the padded seats that the plays provided in the auditorium. However, the black box provided a much more intimate environment, which I liked, but something didn’t feel right. It added a new element of uncomfortability that I hadn’t experienced in theater before.

Having the spring play in the black box is something that SHS has never done before. Theater teacher Kimberly Roberts noticed the change for this year’s play created some controversy among their targeted audience. I can attest the change did not take away from any of the experience I had. It made “subText” better.

I wanted to go up and congratulate every actor and crew member for doing such an amazing job because of how close they were. It brought the entire experience back to reality, almost like looking into the drama of daily teenage life, which was what the play was about.

Feeling distant from the actors in previous years, the space was the reason for the lost connection in the auditorium. In the black box, I even felt a bit uncomfortable when I made eye contact with some of the cast or stared at them for too long when they weren’t speaking, even though I was just looking for their reactions to the conversations. Not to mention at the very end when the actors were bowing while standing on the outline of the black tape on the floor. It was a bit too close for my liking.

Space is good, but too much or not enough convolutes sentiments and experiences.

Roberts, coming from a school where she directed Black Box plays, says she was confident in her actors to be able to perform this play. Though, some of the higher up levels of theater are not able to perform on grand stages like our auditorium at SHS, so this play is helping them prepare for where theater may take them.

“I really like the idea of working with two people or three people at a time and everyone kind of having a feature,” Roberts said. “Like, it’s a true ensemble cast and not just one lead with supporting roles.”

Also, knowing I went to one of the shows after the actors had talked to the playwright of their play provided a cool experience because they heard from the writer himself about what he envisioned and what he thought of their performance.

Playwright Tyler Dwiggins came to the show on March 2 at 7 p.m. and talked to the actors after and seemed to really enjoy his experience, especially since he had worked with Roberts on the play four years ago.

“It was kind of just a beautiful homecoming. Even though the school was different, it was great to see Kim doing the show again…,” Dwiggins said, “so that aspect was delightful.”

Overall, the black box brought the stage to life, something the auditorium hadn’t accomplished for me. I didn’t even notice that they didn’t have real, detailed settings, only actual black boxes used as seating for the actors and places for props. The acting was so good and the actors were right there in front of me. I was wrapped up in the moment and feelings they projected. It was a new, but beautiful, black box experience.