Similar to a dream within a dream like in the movie “Inception,” Blue Springs South High School is performing a play within a play.
“Opening Night” is this year’s fall production for Blue Springs South, and the choice is a change of pace from what you usually expect in a high school play.
“This has never really been done before,” says Susan Cooper, the school’s theater instructor and play director. “And it was time to do a comedy.”
Loosely based on the John Cassavetes film of the same name, “Opening Night” takes place on the opening night (obviously) of a local high school’s production called “Tears of Revenge,” a nod to the old film noir movies of the 1940s that is written by none other than the school’s home economics teacher.
What makes “Opening Night” stand apart is that audience members are able to witness the happenings (and calamities) onstage, backstage, and even in the soundbooth as both the cast and crew of “Tears” frantically prepare themselves for their debut while every worst possible thing happens to the production. Incompetent sound technicians, forgotten lines, and missplaced props are just some of the fun the unique show has to offer.
Even some of the audience will be unaware if the play has begun by having a “quiet opening,” according to Cooper. Instead of the typical grand opening where the curtain rises up and the lights dim, the audience will be subjected to a behind the scenes glimpse of the problems the “Tears” crew face. Cooper says, “you won’t even know it opened.”
Alex Moore, a senior, plays Michael. This character plays a junior from the high school who gets a part to play – an inspector in their ‘Tears of Revenge’ play, says Moore. “It was a lot of fun playing two roles in a sense. Plus it was a chance to do something challenging.”
Although being a humorous take on what goes on behind the stage, above all “Opening Night’s” intention is to recognize the overlooked aspect of a production, the crew.
“This show is dedicated to the crew, our unsung heroes,” states Cooper. “This is our chance to show off the crew for the first time ever.”
“The actual crew of ‘Opening Night’ is being incorporated on the stage by acting as the crew for ‘Tears for Revenge’,” says technical director Jon Frentrop.
Both directors said the crew of this production earned a lot of respect from the cast.
“They (cast) didn’t realize how much work a crew performs on a play,” Cooper continued.
“Opening Night” begins Thursday, with a 7 p.m. opening night at the Blue Springs South High School Performing Arts Center. Additional performances are November 8 and 9 at the same time. Tickets are $5 for all ages and can be purchased on the nights of the performances.
Cast and Crew
Reuben Hoyle - Dan
Julia Swank - Tiffany
Leslie Haller - Becky
Alex Moore - Michael
Connor Uptegrove - Dave
Henry Leith - Ryan
Payton Haen - Kathy (Stage Manager)
Tom Clarke - Jeff (Deck Foreman)
Adam Gentry - Chris (Tech & duct-tape king)
Baylor Massey - Jen (Tech Crew)
Samantha Carter & Marley Brown - The Melissas (Costume mistresses and each/half of the same person)
Ross Dryer - Eric (Light Crew)
Noah Leith - Gizmo (Sound Crew & Follow Spot)
Damian Words - Kevin (The New Guy)
Shannon Humiston, Tristan Townley - Assistant Stage Managers
Emily Evans & Jamie Lewis - Sound
Kelsey Lewis - Lights
Logan Weiss - Follow Spot
Audrey Keck & Brittain Bishop - Mic Wranglers
Coleman Williams (CJ) - Fly Lines
Running Crew - Anna Swanson, Jonah Lewis, Brendan Xiong, Kevin Risley, Quierre Perkins, Ian Humiston, Luke Chandler
Mrs. Susan Cooper - Director
Mr. Jon Frentrop - Technical Director
Set Design - Tristan Townley