How WHS student actors prepare to perform
November 9, 2022
“Suddenly Seymour”- Junior Collin Alber and and senior Molly Neff run through scenes and songs, as they work on their blocking, singing, and stage presence.
The WHS theater department is working on the reproduction of “Little Shop of Horrors,” through character development and analysis in preparation for opening night.
“Little Shop of Horrors” is a beloved Broadway Musical about two protagonists, Seymour and Audrey, and their challenges living in Skid Row. Throughout the musical, the two fall in love all while Seymour gains fame from a man-eating plant named Audrey II. Though the musical is humorous in itself, it also touches on sensitive subjects that play into the overall message of the show.
“Audrey is a person who lives in her own insecurity,” senior Molly Neff who plays the role of Audrey said. “She feels as though she deserves nothing, and as though she’ll never be enough.”
Because the musical touches on sensitive subjects such as physical abuse and feelings of unworthiness through the lens of Audrey and how she’s treated by her abusive boyfriend, the audition process for this year’s production was a very intricate proceeding.
“Auditions are always the hardest part of producing any show,” director Lance Grubb said. “We look for students who stand out…with their vocal skills (and) quality of singing, as well as how they interpret the character for which they are auditioning. We also look for students who show the ability to be coached as well as work well (and) positively with others. We look for the whole package.”
While some performers were well and able to work towards showcasing their talents for auditions, some students faced unpredictable circumstances that set them back, but not limiting their overall performance.
"I actually had COVID during auditions, and this role was incredibly important to me, so the pressure was definitely on,” Neff said. “I spent a lot of time stressing, and really wanted to have a good audition. Callbacks really sold it for me.”
With the roles eventually selected through callbacks, directors were finally ready to begin the process of constructing “Little Shop of Horrors.”
“Developing a show takes a lot of time and patience,” Grubb said. “We do character analysis, character building activities, and vision explanation to prepare our actors for the stage.”
Junior Collin Alber plays the role of Seymour, one of the main protagonists. Because this role is so vital in the musical, shaping the character and developing his overall mannerisms, speech, and personality has been a large focus.
“My biggest challenge has been channeling the character and making the character my own unique thing, but it allows me to grow and learn as an actor,” Alber said.
During the course of rehearsals, directors also shape the overall production through stage direction, blocking, and bringing the characters to life through the actors’ portrayals of the characters’ emotions.
“Acting is all about reacting and making choices,” Grubb said.
With acting also comes the process of characterization or the development of a solid role. Since the musical incorporates a giant puppet, representing Audrey II, giving the character life through characterization was a huge part of tying it all together. Even though senior Aidan Adelman, who plays the role of Audrey II, isn’t on stage during the show, it doesn’t diminish his performance.
“I get all big with hand movements… make the weirdest faces… and since I don’t have an audience watching me, I don’t have to be self-conscious about the way I look… so I can really just fully commit and go all out,” Adelman said.
As the development of the musical carries on in preparation for opening night in November, performers and directors continue to see growth through their practice and performance.
“Watching my cast mates grow, and watching them as they work to really become their characters has been incredible,” Neff said. “Everyone is so immensely talented, and I love watching growth occur before my eyes.”