Take a Look at “Hell Week” for “The Drowsy Chaperone”

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The cast sings while the costumes crew helps put on makeup and outfits, and the tech crew prepares the stage. Sound technicians test microphones to see if they are working at its best quality. The lights crew sets the best lighting possible. This is production week– or “hell week”–for the Upper School musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone“. 

The cast and the crew had full dress rehearsals early this week, and they refined last minute details before they performed in front of a live audience. Their first performance took place yesterday, Feb. 8. 

Preparing for this year’s musical has been different from previous musicals for Emily Gray, drama instructor and the musical director, and for the rest of the performing arts faculty.

“We are doing this, but also juggling ISAS preparations. Everyone in fine arts is rehearsing other pieces. I personally am directing three shows: the musical, a one-act play for the festival and a show for the lower school. It is terrific to have three shows, but it is busy,” Gray said.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, senior Cate Ginsberg, who plays the drowsy chaperone, started her preparation for the dress rehearsal by braiding her hair. She then put on her makeup, wig and costume with the help of the costumes crew. This process took until 6 p.m., she did a voice warm up and then she was ready for the rehearsal to start at 7. 

For the costumes crew, the schedule is quite different. They prepare the cast’s makeup and costumes and do fast changes and quick makeup changes during the show. The crew makes sure all costumes are in place and wigs are in good conditions.

Chloe Johnson, a sophomore in costumes crew, described fast changes as nervous and exciting, and they give her an adrenaline rush.

“Dancers are in most of the scenes with different costumes, so they need help changing fast,” Johnson said.

Tech crew, during production week, ensures that the props are in the right places, the mics work properly and lights are at the right settings. Tech crew runs the show backstage, while the cast performs on the stage.

“I just want people to know that although they can’t see tech crew, we are the one running the show,” tech crew build head and senior Ashlynn Long said. “The show won’t go without us. Every single part of the show is important. I want them to know that we all worked really hard, we all came together to make this amazing production happen.” 

During production week, time management can be a challenge. Being in a musical from 4 to 10 p.m. allows only a short time for the cast and the crew to work on their homework after school. Ginsberg said that it was hard to keep up with the academic works while keeping herself sharp and healthy.

During her free time in rehearsals, Johnson did a little bit of homework. Meyer Zinn, a tech crew member from St. Mark’s, also kept himself from doing all of his homework at night by finding time during rehearsals.

But there are personal benefits to production week as well; the participants make long lasting memories with each other.

“Crew really is a family. Especially for me, crew has been my favorite place, my favorite people, my favorite part of being at Hockaday,  Long said. “I basically live in the shop. I do homework there, I’ve cried in there, bled in there–the shop is my home.”

For example, to ease the stress of the juniors, seniors came to school half an hour early to make Valentine’s cards with candies for them. Ginsberg said that even though everyone was stressed out, the love was present.

Johnson hopes that the audience will enjoy the product of the cast and crew’s hard work. The production week is worth the musical, she added.

“Each joke and bits of the show takes hours. We’ve been working on this since November. It is going to be amazing,” Ginsberg said.

You can see “The Drowsy Chaperone”  tonight and tomorrow at .7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Hockaday’s Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Theater.

Tickets can be purchased for $15 here


Story and photos by Eugene Seong, Staff Writer