The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Carlmont actors overcome ‘toil and trouble’ to perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Jessica Li
Junior Ryu Shukla rehearses using the set in the main theater during tech week.

Carlmont actors began to steel themselves for their performances in the fall play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” ever since rehearsals started on Aug. 28.

Actors attended most rehearsals three times a week from 4:30-6:30 p.m. for their performances that spanned Oct. 19 to Oct. 22. Performances were located in the main theater for the first time which had its own obstacles.

“Early rehearsals start with a read-through of the script and full cast rehearsal to provide students with opportunities to get to know each other,” said Elizabeth Berg, the drama teacher and fall play director. 

She believes that a cohesive cast is crucial to a successful production, so she assigns activities such as icebreakers to “build ensemble.”

Because the play was written by William Shakespeare, rehearsals featured a “Shakespeare boot camp” to accustom the actors to antithesis, the unique terminology, and iambic pentameter, the rhythm scheme Shakespeare’s dialogues use.

The actors then began reading through the script with the whole cast before moving on to rehearsing individual scenes. 

In the early stages of rehearsal, blocking, which is the movement and positioning of actors, and learning cues are the most crucial elements. After actors learn their blocking and cues, they are able to focus on memorizing their lines, according to Berg.

Starting Oct. 15, the production entered tech week which extended rehearsals for each actor to 8:30 p.m. every day until their official performances began. 

Tech week is when more technical aspects such as the stage lighting are implemented, and the final adjustments are made to the play before performances begin.

“Actors are completely responsible for learning their lines outside of rehearsals, knowing their cues, and blocking, so that they may perform without their scripts,” Berg said.  

This gives the actors many responsibilities that extend to their time outside of rehearsals. To provide more insight into the preparations for Carlmont’s play and the drama program, three actors stepped forward to share the most difficult aspect of the production.

One of these actors, Colin Crockwell, a sophomore, is playing the role of Francis Flute, the bellows-mender, making this his second performance in a Carlmont theater production. He’s also enrolled in Advanced Drama after taking Drama 1 last year.

Crockwell pinned memorization, particularly in more hectic scenes,  as the most difficult aspect of priming for performances. 

“When each person has their own lines, blocking, and cues in a scene, it’s especially hard to keep up,” Crockwell said.

Crockwell appreciates the drama community and is excited to gain more experience with theater in the future.

“Honestly, I signed up for drama on accident, but because of that I signed up for the fall play last year and I’m so glad I did,” Crockwell said. “It’s a really great inclusive community and a lot of fun.” 

Izzy French, a freshman at Carlmont, plays the role of Egeus and noted the difficulty posed by a Shakespearean work.

“The Shakespeare boot camp helped a lot with us understanding our dialogue, vocabulary, and pronunciation,” French said. “But learning the antithesis and iambic pentameter was still a bit of a challenge.”

Even as someone new to Carlmont Theater, French was relatively well prepared for the performance and recommended theater to those interested.

“As long as you have the enthusiasm and want to get involved it’s really fun,” French said.

Pullquote Photo

This year we had a lot of kids who haven’t really done drama before, and though it was a little daunting at first they’ve really cultivated drama’s unique community.

— Samantha Dechaine

However, Samantha Dechaine, a senior, was faced with the most unique obstacle of this production.

Prior to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Dechaine had participated in two other Carlmont productions and had been in the drama program since she was a freshman in 2020 in addition to being a part of the Thespian Society, Carlmont’s official Drama club.

But no amount of practice could’ve equipped her for the sickness that prevented her from rehearsing for the entirety of tech week.

“I got COVID-19 a week before the show, so I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to perform,” Dechaine said. “I was worried that the performance would be a mess when I came back, but everything looked amazing.”

She praised Samantha Roberts, a sophomore and Carlmont actor who took on the role of her understudy in addition to her own role during Dechaine’s absence.

As a senior, Dechaine mentioned that there was a new significance to the performance.

“A lot of freshmen came up to me and said they were excited about my performance,” Dechaine said. “Just knowing this was really gratifying to me because I can see a whole new generation of actors loving my work and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.”

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About the Contributors
Nathan Turnbeaugh
Nathan Turnbeaugh, Staff Writer
Nathan Turnbeaugh (Class of 2026) is an avid first-year writer for Scot Scoop, who looks forward to covering campus events. In his day-to-day, you can find him listening to music, practicing with the football team, and biking around Belmont.
Jessica Li
Jessica Li, Staff Writer
Jessica Li (Class of 2026) is a sophomore, and this is her first year in Carlmont Journalism. She enjoys participating in theatre, playing piano, and hanging out with friends.

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