Tragedy will become comedy when Heritage Christian School debuts play Friday
January 24, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The lights dimmed in a chaotic cafetorium Thursday morning at Heritage Christian School.
Suddenly in character, Jared Clark and Andrea Houston darted onto a student-made Shakespearean set. In her men's Victorian-era costume and painted-on facial hair, Houston garnered laughs before she even began to speak.
This was no typical production of "Othello." This was a comedy. In fact, its full title is "Othello: A Tragic Comedy with Way Too Many Acts."
"It's one of Shakespeare's sad plays, but I think the people who wrote this one thought it was too tragic to take seriously," said Andrea Clark, a sophomore who plays Othello.
The production also wasn’t typical of Heritage Christian School. No one could recall the private school’s secondary students ever putting on a theater program. Perhaps all of that pent-up theatrical energy was simply ready to burst from the stage as the students projected their voices and committed to their characters with impeccable comedic timing.
"You definitely have to have no sense of shame," said Andrea Houston as she prepared for Thursday's dress rehearsal in which she played Iago. She pointed to her drawn-on mustache and added, "About anything."
Randi Owens, an English teacher at the school who advised the production along with music teacher Christel Houston, said though the students only had 10 school days to learn the play, they took on the challenge with energetic focus.
"It's been great to see some of the kids that maybe struggle in the classroom come out of their shell," she said.
"There are kids that just come to school, they're just coming to class, now all of a sudden they've got a job, and it's a job they're good at," added Houston.
The theater program is part of the new J-Term at Heritage Christian School. When students returned from winter break they didn't go right back to class. Instead, a three-week period ensued in which the students got to take part in unique and formative experiences like a backcountry hut trip and a trip to the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.
Somewhere among all the excitement and a few bouts of illnesses, a cast and crew of about 18 students found the time to learn, rehearse and produce an entire play.
The final performance of "Othello," which includes small presentations from the rest of the students about their J-Term experiences, is at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Heritage Christian School. The cost is $5.
"They choose the area they're strong in," Christel Houston said about the J-Term projects. "So the three weeks is so fun for them. And some of them didn't even know they were good at it."
As the cast and crew applied makeup, costume accessories and copious amounts of hairspray to one another in the art room Thursday, the nervous energy was palpable. But the group couldn't wait to debut the first secondary school play to the rest of the community.
"It's going to be scary and kind of awesome," Clark said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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