With only 12 cast members, the upcoming play, The Servant of Two Masters, is a unique performance enhanced by a smaller production.
Theatre teacher, Emily Peña-Thornber, who has been teaching for a total of 10 years, began her passion of performing arts as a singer, participating in a children’s choir for 10 years and acting in plays throughout middle and high school. Once in college, Peña-Thornber was involved in UC Davis’s acapella group, The Spokes, and worked with a Broadway director in a performance of Oklahoma.
There are two acting classes students can join to get involved at our school, Acting One and Acting Two. In Acting One, students learn the fundamentals and history of theatre along with theatre as an art form. Acting Two goes more in-depth and performs the class play. With the exception of the first play, anyone can audition for the theatre performances.
A smaller cast does allow closer bonds to be formed within the people in the cast
The Servant of Two Masters is a modern take on a traditional commedia dell’arte Italian performance about a man working for two masters and getting into many risky situations while trying to conceal his double life.
“It’s very silly, very exaggerated, over the top, and very farcical,” Peña-Thornber said, “It’s really a fun physical comedy.”
Around 35 people tried out for the play, with about 20 being called back, ending with a final cast of 12 students. Two students, Senior Jonathan Liu, and junior Lucy Allebest, who are on the cast, gave their thoughts on the small production size.
“It’s super reasonable to be disappointed,” Allebest said, “As someone who’s been turned down before, I don’t want to invalidate that disappointment.”
Despite the lingering disappointment in the lack of space for student participation, both Allebest and Liu recognize the perks that come along with working with a smaller cast.
“A smaller cast does allow closer bonds to be formed within the people in the cast,” Liu said. “It allows us to be more focused during rehearsal and be more efficient in terms of the stuff we get done each day.”
A band can always have more instruments, a choir can always have more voices, and a dance can always have more dancers, but a play can’t always have more actors
Peña-Thornber explained she chose this production because theatre is an art form that can be enhanced by a smaller cast.
“Theatre is the one performing art that flourishes with a smaller group of people,” Peña-Thornber said, “A band can always have more instruments, a choir can always have more voices, and dance can always have more dancers, but a play can’t always have more actors.”
Although a challenging aspect of a small cast size is rejection, Peña-Thornber and others on the cast have a positive outlook for the upcoming performance.
“…I think the show’s going to be really fun,” Peña-Thornber said, “The characters are big and loud and crazy; I think that it will feel like a much bigger show.”