No One Is Alone, Truly

We’re Less Than A Month Away!

Into the Woods rehearsals have been humming along and the pieces are starting to really come together. Our cast covered the last of the music on Friday. The orchestra has begun to tackle this beast of a score. The set construction team met three nights this week and for an epic nine hour build session yesterday. Costumes for the woods have been fitted and ordered. Now we get ready for the biggest test of all: Spring Break.

We’re “leveling up” the HHS auditorium in a big way!

Last year, “Guys and Dolls” opened just four days after the students returned from Spring Break. I vowed that such a quick turnaround would never happen again under my watch. This year, we’re returning from Spring Break on April 2nd, and won’t open for another 11 days. That will allow us to make sure the actors are prepared, the set has been tried and tested, the paint has time to dry (last year there were signs being painted on day we opened), the orchestra has a solid week to work with actors (a pit musician’s greatest challenge), the costumes and makeup team have gotten all of the wrinkles out of their designs, any special equipment has been rented and implemented, the lights and sound teams have gotten to see several run-throughs of the show before programming their side of the production, and we all have had the chance to marvel at just how daunting a task this show truly is. In short, the extra time will make a world of difference.

This will be awaiting me when I enter my classroom tomorrow morning. Oh, the joys of teaching and directing simultaneously!

An Incredible Team

All of the above-mentioned production elements each require a tremendous amount of attention to detail in order to congeal into a seamless product. As a full-time teacher, and a father to two toddlers, I rely on the talent, skills, and energy of many people in order to pull off this show as director and producer. Nothing is more comforting to me than getting reminder emails from volunteers on projects I’ve started but have neglected, or seeing work that students have initiated themselves come to fruition. Much to their credit, this cast and crew made up largely of students and volunteers have conducted themselves with a tremendous amount of professionalism, and it shows in nearly every aspect of the show.

Mourning an Icon

This past week, the world lost a legendary icon of the theatre: Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov. Oleg Tabakov was not only one of the most notable actors of stage and screen in Russia for the past 50 years, he also took on the considerable risk of lending his name and legacy to a group of American acting students as their headmaster back in the Fall of 2001. I was lucky enough to have been one of those students, and I owe Oleg Tabakov a tremendous amount of gratitude for his teachings, his often-humbling acting notes, and his linking me to the illustrious history of the Moscow Art Theatre forever.

The man in the center of this photo, Oleg Tabakov, on the steps of the legendary Moscow Art Theatre, with the first (and only) American Course in 2005.

Many people in the United States have no idea who Oleg Tabakov was, and for them I feel somewhat sad. If people would like to read a bit about this man, they can start here. Or, even better, find a time to come up to old director Schklowsky, and ask him to regale them of memories of an outstanding actor, director, administrator, and cultural icon. You will be missed, Oleg Pavlovich.


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