This is a party you don’t want to miss.
From Nov. 4-11, The Clarice’s Kogod Theatre will be transformed to a speakeasy from the late 1920s. The set, complete with a functioning bar, is designed to include audience members in the performance of The Wild Party.
“The audience is sitting in the club, and the whole club is our space, so we’re using all of it,” said Morgan Scott, who portrays Black. “We’re walking around the room and we’re sitting on the stairs and we’re moving through the audience in certain scenes … so it’s really, really exciting.”
The cabaret-style production is one of the reasons this version of The Wild Party is different from any other.
Directors Alvin Mayes and Scot Reese tailored this script to center around four main characters: Queenie, Burrs, Black and Kate. To do so, they eliminated every set other than the speakeasy, enhanced some of the songs and added some character development, Mayes said.
“The idea of it is we didn’t just want to do another musical; we wanted to do a musical that’s going to enhance the training and enhance the experiential elements for our students,” Mayes said.
The Wild Party is based on an epic poem that was written in the 1920s and has since inspired other works, including movies and two musicals.
Monica Albizo said part of her preparation for her role as Queenie was watching renditions of the show.
“I watched versions of the show before I even auditioned just to get a feel for what it was actually about,” Albizo, a junior in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, said.
However, Scott, a senior TDPS student, said he tries not to watch other performances, especially avoiding any videos of his character.
“I really try to make it my own and not follow anything that anyone else does,” Scott said. “I definitely try not to watch videos becauses it really gets in your mind and you’ll end up sneaky doing things that they do that you don’t want to because you don’t want to do someone else’s portrayal of a character.”
Outside of the 40 rehearsal hours each week, the cast does extra preparation and studying of their characters, their role in the story and the time period the musical is set in.
Something that helps Scott is creating an adjective star. He comes up with five key adjectives about his character, picking two that are polar opposites. For Black, Scott’s two opposing adjectives were manipulative and sensitive.
One of the activities done as a cast was creating fables, which is telling the story from each character’s point of view and then reading them back to each other.
“It was really interesting seeing what Queenie’s version of the story is and what my version of the story is and what the other versions were because it’s all the same story, it’s just very specific,” Scott said.
When researching the time period, the students were able to make connections between the 1920s and the present, relating goings-on in the world at both times and applying those experiences to their characters.
In the end, the show speaks to larger issues outside of singing and dancing, Albizo said, but is still both visually and musically stunning while getting the audience involved.
“I don’t come into the show until the sixth number,” Scott said. “The first time I saw them all do it [during rehearsal], I thought, ‘Oh, my god! I wanna come to this party! This is so exciting.’”
Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of Stan Barouh and The Clarice, featuring Kyle Travers as Burrs, Monica Albizo as Queenie and Morgan Scott as Black.
Maya Pottiger is a senior multi-platform journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.