The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Boys Join Hockaday-based Play


After separating the St. Mark’s and Hockaday drama programs, new Hockaday theater teacher Emily Gray knew she had to reach out to other schools to fill boys’ roles in the fall play, “Hay Fever.”

Though she has already edited the play, a light-hearted romp by British comedic playwright Noel Coward, to change one “male” role to one that will be performed by a Hockaday student, Gray still wanted boys to round out her cast.

“It’s a very different experience [for the male students], being in a girl-heavy play,” Gray said. “So many plays in the world are boy-heavy and we’re deliberately doing the opposite, so it can only do them good.”

While a student from St. Mark’s did try out, two boys from Jesuit and one from Cistercian ended up auditioning on Aug. 27 and 28.

“Every one of them did a great job,” Gray said. “They joined in the warmup games straight away.”

Though all six had what Gray remembers as “wonderful auditions,” she also recalls specific traits from the three who she ended up casting.

“They all were very confident, but also were very adaptable,” Gray said. “Being ‘directable’ is more important than knowing what you’re doing.”

It’s a good thing that Gray was looking more for a readiness to follow direction than experience; one of the actors, Cistercian senior Jonathan Raroque, is making his acting debut with “Hay Fever.”

Scenes from Hay Fever, above, will be performed by the Hockaday Theater Program in fall.

Raroque is joined by fellow Cistercian senior Corbin Westkaemper and Jesuit sophomore Jared Butler.

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Boys join Hockaday girls, such as senior Whitney Middlekauf and sophomore Paloma Renteria, to practice and perform in the fall play. Photo by Maria Katsulos/The Foucast

“It’s completely different than what I thought it would be,” Raroque said. “Everything is basically relaxed. I like it.” 

Westkaemper compared the Hockaday Theater Company to Cistercian’s, reflecting on his own acting debut last spring.

“Honestly it feels a little bit more professional [and] more rigorous,” Westkaemper said.

Though neither plans to pursue acting in college, Westkaemper and Raroque both decided to audition for Hockaday’s play after hearing about Gray’s call for actors from the Cistercian college counselor.

“[Gray] is very patient, very careful…to make sure everything fits together nicely, very meticulous,” Westkaemper said.

Agreeing with this assessment is Jesuit sophomore Jared Butler, who compared the Jesuit theater program to the one at Hockaday.

“This is more of a full-fledged program,” Butler said. “It’s interesting to see a completely different perspective of running a show.”

Though he is the youngest of the three actors, Butler has the most acting experience. In addition to being in both the fall and spring show at Jesuit, he also participated in a number of one-acts and short films on campus.

After an influx of stage-ready freshmen this year, the drama teacher at Jesuit pointed him in Gray’s way.

“It’s a nice way to get in touch with two pretty old programs that haven’t interacted for various reasons over past couple of years,” Butler said.

While there was initially some confusion over four different schools auditioning for the Hockaday play, Gray is excited for forthcoming plays open to that community of young actors.

“It’s a new era, and we’re able to invent the Hockaday Theater Company as we want it,” Gray said. “It’s always a great position to be in, being at the ground level of something and building it up.”

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