From 9 Sept. to 24 Sept., RAHS students performed in the Hi-Liners Musical Theatre adaptation of The Little Mermaid at the Performing Arts Center in Burien.
Laboring extensively over the summer, students such as RAHS sophomore Wren Bergin finally got to showcase their hard work on performance night.
“We rehearsed about 140 hours for the entire play,” said Bergin. “Usually it’s an hour for every page, and our script was 120 pages long, so we put in an extra 20 hours on it.”
AP Literature teacher Sarah Fitzpatrick can vouch that the students’ hard work paid off when she saw the play.
“I thought it was wonderful,” said Fitzpatrick. “I know Amber Thatcher [who played Ariel] because she was a student in my class so we were excited to see her on stage, and she has such a beautiful voice.”
Although experiencing the play as performer, Bergin agrees with the sentiment.
“When you’re in a play you can’t really say that it was good or not because you’ll never get the experience watching it first hand,” said Bergin, “but I can pretty confidently say that our performances went well.”
Bergin herself is a well seasoned theatre kid.
“With the Hi-Liners, I’ve been in about 27 plays,” said Bergin. “I’ve been with them since I was 7.”
Senior Lucas Civan is a new arrival to the Hi-Liners, but still has some productions under his belt.
“The Little Mermaid was my third show with the Hi-Liners, following The Sound of Music and UrineTown,” said Civan. “I’ve been a Hi-Liner for roughly a year.”
Despite this experience with theatre, The Little Mermaid production still came with its share of surprises.
“Whenever props or the sets would break, especially during performances, it would cause this awkward half-second pause,” said Civan, “with everyone looking at each other in a blur of confusion and laughter, thinking; ‘Shoot, what do we do now?’”
Though frightening at the time, the breaking of props during performances can leave a fond memory.
“For example, in the second act when Ariel, Eric, and Grimsby [Civan’s character] are about to eat dinner, the bell that I usually rang unexpectedly broke in half,” said Civan. “I looked over at Amber Thatcher, who played Ariel, who was trying extremely hard not to burst out laughing. Little moments like those happen all the time during live performances, which are scary during the time, but hilarious to look back on.”
Additionally, things weren’t always smooth sailing before the curtains opened.
“One challenge was seeing how it is going to be put together, how it’s going to work,” said Bergin. There’s always a point in the process when you’re a few weeks in and it feels like nothing is working.”
Still, the fruits of the work that go into a main stage production are just as gratifying for the two.
“When you begin production, as we did back in June, you read the script and begin to envision the character that you are portraying. During script read throughs, blocking, and rehearsals, you slowly begin to pick up on character motivations, traits, quirks, jokes, and more,” said Civan. “Discovering the character and becoming them, one-hundred percent of them, is an amazing feeling; like literally walking a mile in their shoes, until you become them.”
For Civan, theatre is a comprehensive form of artistic expression.
“Theatre provides a rare opportunity to abandon reality and become someone else, to step into their shoes and explore their world,” said Civan. “It’s a creative outlet that incorporates acting, singing, dancing, improv, costuming, set design, and about every other art form you could think of.”
Yet, finding the time to be able to express that creativity is a challenge in its own right.
“The first week of school we had ‘tech days’ which would be from 4:30 – 9:30 pm. So I’d get home at around 10 and then I would have homework to do,” said Bergin. “I would be able to do some homework during ‘tech days’ because we aren’t always used everyday but it was pretty stressful the first week.”
Theatre also provides an opportunity for self-growth and reflection.
“You have to take responsibility for yourself because no one else will,” said Civan. “If I messed up a line or forgot a section of blocking, prior to The Little Mermaid, I’d often blame it on something or someone else. However, since I was entering my first MainStage Production, I had to acknowledge, fix, and learn from my mistakes.”
As an art form, theatre allows any willing student to leave themselves at the door, and become someone else on stage.
“Anyone can be a performer,” said Civan. “Whether it’s singing, acting, or dancing, theatre will take you in and transform your creativity and passion into spectacle.”