Behind the scenes


Madison Gomez

The seniors of the theater production class danced and skipped around the front of and on the stage. The song that they were dancing to was called “We’re All In This Together,” from “High School Musical.”

Madison Gomez, Reporter

They were hanging up posters, scrambling around and hurdling over obstacles the night of Coffee House. The theater production students who were directing the event had been prepping all semester for this moment.

Coffee House underwent a change in the traditional setup, making the students have to learn a new way of constructing the set. However, the actual concept and execution were still the same. For senior Noah Brunson, that just meant making different tables, not much else was different.

“Obviously we had a different set up, and (theater teacher Kim) Roberts wanted to go a different route,” Brunson said. “And that’s a huge benefit for the school, (because) it’s a new way to do it. Out with the old in with the new, so it was a good set up overall.”

On the presentation side, there were the emcees. One of them, senior Zach Smith, was called away to drill the morning of Coffee House. Therefore, the script had to be rewritten the day of Coffee House. Senior Rebecca Schaefer says that although it was stressful, everything turned out fine.

“(I’m a little bit worried), but I trust everyone else as being emcees,” Schaefer said. “We’ve all been in theater classes before so we’re pretty good at improv, if need be.”

She received the position after Roberts told the students to email her if they were interested in announcing Coffee House. Schaefer had previously helped out in three other Coffee Houses and performed in one, so the experience she was preparing to have that night was a completely new one for her. She had to face the crowd, be funny and make sure things were running smoothly while also coordinating with her fellow announcers.

Senior Hairo Rivas returned for second time as an emcee, setting him apart from the others. His junior year, for the fall Coffee House, no one wanted to fill the last position for emcee so Rivas stepped up. He says he felt uncomfortable on stage, but his nerves quickly diminished.

“I would say I was nervous, but then later on as the show kept going, I felt confident (and) secure. I felt like it was home,” Rivas said. “I liked how the crowd cheers you on. When you give the crowd back what they want, it’s a great feeling knowing that the Southport community is together, being able to come cheer on their students as well.”

Behind the lights and sound of the event was junior Paul Muan along with tech theater teacher Cody Wakefield to ensure that things ran smoothly. Muan took a tech theater class his sophomore year, and he says that he has helped in Coffee Houses, concerts and the musical “Beauty and the Beast.” He thought the way that Coffee House was organized this year, with the stage being where the musical pit usually was, was exciting, and he hoped for a big turnout at the event since it was something new and different.

Also behind the scenes, Roberts was racing back and forth behind the stage and raffle station as she delivered the winning tickets back to the raffle table, directing people to their seats and making sure the wait staff had enough change. These were just some of the things that she had to juggle at Coffee House. With this being her first one, she had to learn how to deal with things as they came, since her previous school hadn’t put on a performance like this one before.

Receiving advice and reassurance from students about how previous Coffee Houses had turned out, Roberts listened, but also realized that this wasn’t an event where you can give numbers and have the expectations set at that point. She just had to experience it for herself.

“I think people, when they’re coming to an event like this, they’re very open minded and understand that it’s a school function and it’s really like kids putting this on,” Roberts said. “I’m just helping them organize it, so people, I think, are very kind. They understand if they come in and there may not be a seat that it may take us a minute to find a chair, so everyone’s been very accommodating and very helpful.”

Backstage, junior Victoria Fitzgerald was a runner, which meant she guided the performers to their place to go up on stage. The reason why she didn’t take the other option of being a waitress, she says, is because she didn’t want to have to suffer the awkwardness of taking orders from fellow classmates and friends, but she still contributed to the overall production.

Helping with the production is something she says she enjoys because she’s made great friends through it. Fitzgerald says she’s a little sad because her senior friends won’t be with her in any other productions during the remainder of her high school career.

“People who do Coffee House are all so supportive and everything,” Fitzgerald said. “In a play, everyone’s supportive too, but they’re kind of supportive in a different way than Coffee House is.”

Crowds cheered as names were announced and for senior Noah Nixon, he says that his last performance meant a lot. He has performed at every Coffee House since his freshman year. Dreams came true for him on stage because he had dreamed of playing for a live audience since he was a child. Letting the echoes of piano fill his house he often played for his family or just for himself.

So, while the format was new, the friends were old, and all together, there weren’t any hiccups the crew couldn’t overcome. Performers got to have their shining moment, and waitresses and waiters socialized with guests while getting them refreshments and snacks to keep up with the long production. And despite the show being in a new format, Roberts says the crew handled it well and she’s proud of them.