Soquel Students Talk Making Magic on Stage

The Pirates of Penzance opens Friday. Were is a Q&A from behind the scenes.

Drama teacher, Maggie Kline, is bent over a script as she watches her students rehearse just days before the opening of their latest production, The Pirates of Penzance which begins Friday.

The play is full of swashbuckling pirates (Kline plays one herself), and "fluttery," waif-like maidens. The atmosphere in the cafeteria-turned-theater-by-afternoon is boisterous, excited and tense.

"Clara, we don't have the grave stones anymore. Can we fix that!?" Kline shouts to the back of the room where the students working the behind-the-scenes production are huddled. "Can we hide behind the pews?" asks Kline.

"I'll figure something out," Clara Hartman calls back.

Hartman is a senior, and the play's choreographer. A dancer herself since she was four years old, Hartman is in charge of creating the dance routines for the entire cast. She is joined by Josh Fox, lighting manager, and Stage Manager Emily Beadnell for a Q&A with Patch about the upcoming show:

Capitola-Soquel Patch: So how does it feel to be directing all of your classmates and telling them what to do? 

Hartman: (laughs) I think I was more nervous about it last year, but this year, everyone's been pretty good about everything honestly, and they're learning their dances.

Patch: Maggie Kline mentioned that this is not a 'step down' version of the play and that it's quite difficult because there is little dialogue. She sets the mood but gives you pretty much free reign in choreographing the cast. Can you tell me about the dancing?

Hartman: There's actually some really hard dances, but it's a different kind of dancing than most musicals in that you don't expect jazz hands. There is actually quite a bit of acrobatics. 

Patch: Do you have a favorite dance?

Hartman: My favorite dances are all of the policeman dances. They're kind of like English bobbies and they have robotic, really springy moves, they have I think three songs that they do and they're hilarious. There's seven of them and I think they're the hardest working members of the cast.

Patch: So you are physically showing them the dances. How is it teaching them?Are they fast learners? 

Hartman: Honestly, I'd come in, I'd teach them, everything would look super messy and I'd feel kind of discouraged. But then they'd go off by themselves for like half an hour and I don't know what they did out there but they'd come back and everything would be spotless. They were pretty impressive.

Patch: (To Josh Fox, senior) So what does your role as lighting manager entail? 

Fox: Basically I meet with the set designer and the costume designer, they draw plans for what their designs are going to be, and then I, going from that, the general color schemes of the costumes and the layout of the set, I decide where the lights need to be, what colors the lights need to be, what moods need to be set for each particular scene and try to portray that through the lighting.

Right now I just have a general warm wash and a cool wash and I have specific lights for each part of the set, and I just try to combine those in various ways to create effective moods.

Patch: Do you prefer being behind the scenes or acting?

Fox: There's just something about making the magic happen that is a lot better than being in the spotlight, to me.

Patch: Are you planning on pursuing a career in theater production? 

Fox: I'm going to Cabrillo next year, so I'm trying to get involved with Cabrillo Stage. We'll see what happens.

Patch: (to Emily Beadnell, senior, and stage manager for the past three years) What about you Emily, are you planning on pursuing theater beyond high school?

Beadnell: Not as a career, but I plan on coming to help out next year just because I love it so much, and Kline could really use the help. It's just exciting to see it all come together.


Soquel High's Knights of the Square Stage have been hard at work, so you best be marking an 'X' on yer calendar, mates! This is the first show they'll be performing with a brand new set of curtains, too. 

The play shows Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 13 at 3 p.m. It will also be showing the following weekend at the same times. For more information visit the Knights of the Square Stage Website.


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