Play aims for big laughs

DOWNEY - The Downey High School drama department has amazed and shocked us with semi-annual plays for years, but come this June they are hoping to leave audiences feeling light-hearted and laughing with their latest week-long production.The latest play to grace the Downey stage, which runs June 8 through June12 ($5 presale, $8 at the door), is a comedy titled "Fools" by Neil Simon. The story surrounds an old Ukrainian village whose residents have been put under a curse to be stupid and hilarity ensues. A lot of work goes into making the entire production of the play run smoothly, starting with actors mastering their lines. "Preparing for school plays usually lasts about half the year. As soon as we finished last semester's drama, "Hide and Seek", we began working on "Fools"," said senior Elena Ortiz. For several actors, jumping from one character to the next is the natural thing to do. For some of the members of the Downey drama department, however, the proper portrayal of their characters and the personal connection to their work is the most important part of the entire experience. "The experiences from working on different plays are very different for me. I really enjoy connecting with my characters, so I really get consumed with each play's atmosphere," said Ortiz. A year ago, the idea of putting on a show in Downey's new B-building theater was a difficult one to obtain, as they dealt with the uncertainty that the construction would not be finished on time. This year those worries are long gone and the entire cast and crew of the play is extremely thankful for their new setup. "The new theatre is a dream come true," said Ortiz. "I am so proud to call it home for the drama department. It really makes our performances more professional and it is very noticeable that all of the actors feel more comfortable being on such a great stage." While a lot of what audiences see happens before them on stage, much of the work is done behind the scenes. Setting up the lighting, creating a working set, and making sure microphones work to their best abilities is a full time job in addition to acting in the play. "The crew is in charge of making the programs, gathering together costumes, painting and constructing the sets. There's a lot of hands on work people don't really know about," said junior David Apodaca. The cast describes themselves to be somewhat of a family, who cheer each other on and support each other throughout the whole experience. Their closeness and friendship off stage is important to the overall production of the play.

********** Published: May 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 5