High school drama troupe presents ‘Noises Off’
Steamboat Springs — Teen voices could be heard in the Steamboat Springs High School auditorium Wednesday night during a dress rehearsal of their latest play.
“That set is so cool,” said one girl as she walked into the auditorium to get a sneak peek.
“Literally the coolest set I’ve ever seen,” said another, staring at a two-story stage that looks just like an upper class home — from the fancy chandelier to the painting over the fireplace.
That’s exactly what drama teacher Jamie Oberhansly and her young protégés wanted to hear because hidden among the audience this weekend will be a secret judge from the Colorado State Thespians, the state association that promotes theatre arts in high schools.
Students from the drama troupe loved their newest play “Noises Off” so much that they begged Oberhansly to enter the comedy into a competition where only two winners are allowed to perform at the 52nd Colorado Thespian Conference in Denver, Dec. 1 to 3.
“It’s very important to get everything right,” said Oberhansly as she pointed to the box office, the entrance, promotional posters and stage. “It made it stressful for me, but I can’t say ‘no’ to the students. They wanted to enter the competition.”
Actress Hannah Heil may only be 16 but she’s a veteran of the stage and the leading lady in what she calls the funniest show she’s ever done.
“It’s such a huge, absurd farce,” Heil said. “My character is this Broadway legend who thinks she’s still in her prime, but everybody knows different.”
“Noises Off” is actually a play within a play, where the students are portraying actors as they get ready for their play’s opening night.
“There’s drama going on backstage, and everything is going wrong,” said student director Sean Portman.
Oberhansly said the comedy mimics real life rehearsals, chaos and mishaps.
“It’s a real physical comedy that just gets hysterical,” Oberhansly said. “There are only nine actors, and they have incredibly demanding roles,” she said, explaining that the actors switches in and out of two characters and employ different accents.
Senior Colin Musselman plays “Selsdon,” an alcoholic actor who has a hard time hearing but was given his role as a favor from the Broadway has-been, “Dotty.”
Junior Henry Tisch has a fun role as neurotic actor “Garry,” and Junior Sammi Lee plays the actress who mothers everyone to keep the play going. Another senior Iain Grant also impresses the audience with his role of “Frederick,” the innocent weak-kneed actor who blames himself when everything goes wrong.
But the biggest star of “Noises Off” may be the fantastic set itself. Senior Oscar Gilbert is the head of set, and audience members have been amazed at its beauty and detail.
“It’s one of the best sets we’ve done,” said Gilbert, who started his freshman year as a stagehand running a fog machine. “We got real structural engineering advice on it, and it’s a new design that rotates.”
“The set is absolutely amazing and I feel like a million bucks out there,” said Heil.
“I’ve just been blown away by the set” and working with the whole crew added Musselman. “It’s been a privilege for us.”
Local mom and thespian fan Beth Wendler credits drama teacher Oberhansly with making all the students comfortable with the troupe, no matter their role.
“Some of the kids do tech stuff, and they have a blast,” Wendler said. “They all understand they can’t do it without each other.”
Other stars in “Noises Off” are junior Olivia Hobson, who plays the stage manager, junior Libby Lukens who plays a bored “floozy” actress, senior Tucker Sanford, who plays the worn-out stage carpenter, and the only sophomore, Charles Leech, plays the two-timing arrogant director involved in a love triangle.
Opening night of the play was Thursday, and there are two more performances at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1 at the high school.
Tickets can be purchased at All That on Lincoln Avenue or at the high school auditorium’s box office before the performances.
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Steamboat Free Summer Concerts announced Friday that it will return live music to the Yampa Valley this summer in the form of two concerts scheduled for August and September.