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SPAMALOT: ERHS' long-awaited return to the stage

Photo by Jim Young
Dress Rehearsals (written by Victor Pack)

I arrived at the theater room right after school with dress rehearsals beginning at 3:45. Usually, they rehearse in the auditorium. However, when I visited, dance students were rehearsing for the Spring Showcase, and rehearsals had to be held in the theater room. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by theater kids (in a good way). People running around, singing, laughing, and just being alive with their friends. I even heard people determining their vocal range. To quote, “You’re an alto!” Once 3:45 hit though, they would all go into the theater room (or auditorium) and get down to business.

When I was inside, I was introduced to a few people, including a dummy. Many members of the cast have some sort of relationship with the dummy and he is a very important member of the cast, which is why it was crucial for me to meet him. Soon, Ms. Kissam came and reviewed with the cast what they needed to practice. Since I came during the early stages of rehearsals, people were practicing singing and dancing, not exactly performing scenes. There was a DJ playing music and people dancing and singing their lines. I must say, they were quite good singers.

Of course, you have your main roles. The main singers, the ones that get solos, the ones that have lines. You also have your ensemble, or background people, which are also key to a musical. As I saw them rehearse a specific scene, not only did they sing in the background, they also puppeteered dummies that were dead, as seen in the picture above. It was quite interesting. Clearly, everyone is vital to a good performance.

I had a very nice time watching rehearsals. They really are organized chaos, like any good thing. Everyone in the theater company is very talented, creative, and just awesome. I could tell how much they enjoyed performing as I sat like a typical journalist: computer on my lap, legs crossed, and lanyard on my neck.

Photo by Victor Pack

Photo by Diego Zea
COVID Delays (written by Sullivan Valdez)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A fan favorite for those who are fans of the comedy troupe. Flashback to two years ago: I was a freshman, with multiple friends in theater. I heard “Spamalot” was the musical of choice that year. I was excited, but had no clue that this musical would be a riff on the famous movie. The daily carpool gave me insights into the progression of the show.

Then everything stopped. The world slowed down and retreated into it's haunts. Live became televised; the show canceled, put on the backburner, held off until further notice.

Eventually, the cold winter turned to spring, life was once more allowed beyond the confines of our domiciles, and the show, once more, would go on. Masks made memorizing and dictating difficult. Fresh new faces filled the company, greenshirts who did not have their foot in the door unlike their upperclassmen counterparts.

Give or take the expected hiccups to any lead up of a show, all seemed to be going well. The show was on track. Lines were committed to memory, choreography put into place. Then the unexpected happens. Mrs. Kissam, director of the show 3 years in the making, catches covid and is unable to continue directing. However, the company decides that the show must go on. Then one of the show’s main leads, Eleanor Dalton, also catches Covid, and was barely able to return on time in able to perform for the three shows.

In the end however, the show was still a massive success. In face of all of these challenges, no one looked out of place. Nobody forgot a line. The show went on, and the show was perfect.

Photo by Jim Young
Photo by Jim Young

Photo by Diego Zea

Opening Night (written by Lily Avina)

Spamalot was the latest feature of our very own ERHS theatre company’s works and I had the pleasure of attending opening night. Before the show started, the audience was met with speakers from the school, and political members to represent the community. A surprising event occurred when students were asked to go up to the stage, and help cut the ribbon to celebrate the recently rebuilt auditorium, and I among others was picked. Pictures were snapped, ribbons were cut, and before we knew it, the lights went dim.

When the curtains opened the audience was met with a brilliant show of lights, acting, and singing. The musical followed the plotline of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a spoof retelling of King Arthur and his knight’s journey in Camelot. The sets were sublime, particularly those of the castles that stood high and mighty above the stage and I would like to give a personal shoutout to the one tree dead center that stood out completely gorgeous and realistic among the rest. The most notable characters would be, King Arthur himself, Patsy his faithful stead, Sir Bedevere the Wise, Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Galahad the Pure and Sir Robin the-not-so-brave (played by our Journalism’s own; Shepherd Williams), and the Lady of the Lakes (played by Journalism senior; Eleanor Dalton). If this cast were to go down in ERHS production history (which it should) it'll always be remembered for the humor and enthusiasm they brought to life on the stage. There was never a dull moment in their production, whether it was the cheerleader’s chant, a loquacious guard with a bit too much knowledge on swallows, or a group of 10 coming together on stage to lift up Sir Robin during his song while he ranted about the necessity of Jews in any Broadway show; there was always something that kept the audience intrigued, laughing, and entertained. Speaking of songs, some absolute highlights of the show were the musical numbers and choreography they entailed. Some of the most vibrant standouts were The Song that Goes Like This (Starring the Lady of the Lakes and Sir Galahad), Always Look On the Bright side of Life (Starring Patsy and King Arthur), You Won’t Succeed On Broadway (Starring Sir Robin), Diva’s Lament (Starring the Lady of the Lakes) and His Name is Lancelot (Starring Herbert; An oppressive King’s son and Sir Lancelot). Never once could you tell how tiring this musical must’ve been as the cast never failed to keep the energy and comedy at a peak. Every member of the cast, no matter how small their part was, put their all into the vocal aspect of the show. Overall, ERHS’s performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot was the holy grail of high school theater productions.

Photo by Jim Young

Photo by Jim Young

Photo by Jim Young


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