Photo Provided by Ashley Peoples
Lights illuminate a stage packed with carefully constructed props and sets. As the performance comes to a close, the cast lines up for one final bow before the curtain slides shut, hiding the actors and props from view of the audience. This is a typical sight of any show that is performance in an auditorium. However, this was not what the audience viewed as the first theatrical production for Great Crossing High School concluded because the performance took place in the library. Yes, that’s right–the library.
Great Crossing High School opened in August, but a few areas were left incomplete and under construction, including the auditorium. So when Ashley Peoples, the play’s director, was choosing a play to perform, she knew that the auditorium may not be ready and made her selection based on that. Thankfully, Humbug High, the play Mrs. People’s ultimately chose, consisted of small sets that contained small pieces, making the process of setting up the play easier in an alternate location.
Once the library was selected to be the temporary auditorium for the production, Peoples realized she would have to improvise on several key aspects. One of those was the stage curtain, an essential tool for performances. “Since there was no stage, there was no curtain. We had to build our own. My father and husband built stands out of PVC pipe and we hung curtains on them,” explained Peoples. This make-shift curtain then needed to be put up and taken down after every practice and performance so that it would be out of the way of library patrons during the day.
Junior Donovan Smith, who has the lead role as Eddie Scrooge, noted that not having the auditorium has “been a different experience and challenging in some aspects. It wasn’t like your conventional stage where you have a lot of freedom to move around. We were constricted to one space.”
Another problem with not having an actual stage to work with was the lack of stage wings, which are used to house props and help keep them hidden from the audience. Senior Abbie Turner, the stage manager of the play, said “There’s just props on the sides of the stage and we can’t really do anything about it.”
Despite these issues, Smith said, “All in all it’s been a fun experience nonetheless. While I wish we did have the auditorium, we pushed through and I liked the result. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs, but it has been so much fun.”
While the cast members and the custodians were responsible for setting the library up to host the play, GCHS library Lauren Feeback said, “I’m thankful that we have a big enough space so that we were able to accommodate a special event like this.”
In the end, what mattered most was that the show went on, and helped spread the Christmas spirit. Mrs People’s said, “Everyone deserves a Christmas, even Eddie Scrooge.”