Theater closes ‘These Shining Lives’

Program perseveres through challenges

Juniors+Gwen+Rockler-Gladen+and+Abby+Baudhuin%2C+freshman+Isaiah+Brown+and+senior%0A+Louise+Marshall+act+on+stage+Jan.+16.+%E2%80%9CThese+Shining+Lives%E2%80%9D+opened+Jan.+14+and+closed+Jan.+16.

Jacob Perszyk

Juniors Gwen Rockler-Gladen and Abby Baudhuin, freshman Isaiah Brown and senior Louise Marshall act on stage Jan. 16. “These Shining Lives” opened Jan. 14 and closed Jan. 16.

Adam Gips and Danny Shope

After the theater program finished its last show Jan. 16, senior and Thespian vice president Caroline Butler said “These Shining Lives” was an exhilarating act to perform.

“We got nothing but good compliments after each show. It went really well, and I had a lot of fun,” Butler said. “The cast is a lot of fun to perform with. The crew is a lot of fun to be with. And even though it’s a very serious show, it was very enjoyable.”

Freshman cast member Miles Johnson said even with the ongoing pandemic concerns there was a good turnout.

“It was really good. There were a lot of people (even) with COVID-19. Everyone had to be socially distanced. But I’m glad that we had a lot of people in the audience almost every single night,” Johnson said.

According to Butler, she did well in her own scenes and impacted the landscape of the show.

It is a really important story to tell, and an industry a lot of people have never heard of. They really brought female voices to the forefront and acknowledged the huge impact that these small women have had.”

— Jodi Schifsky

“In one of the scenes, I have a big blowout where I scream and lose it; I made multiple people cry in that moment,” Butler said. “I also made the audience laugh in the moments they were supposed to laugh. (I did) a very good job.”

Even though the show went well for Butler and Johnson, there were certain challenges, according to theater director Jodi Schifsky.

“We had some setbacks along the way. We had to do some recasting and shifting within the group. And we also had a medical emergency for our tech director who’s not with us for the rest of the (show’s) run,” Schifsky said.

Johnson said with a Winter One Act competition looming where “These Shining Lives” will compete against other schools, the cast needs to work on expressing their characters and staying under the time limit. 

“We should improve on being emotional with our masks on so everyone in the audience can really know how we’re feeling,” Johnson said. “And (we have) to try to get under that 35-minute mark for competition so we don’t get disqualified.”

According to Schifsky, given the challenges of cutting and recasting, she’s impressed with the tenacity the cast and crew have shown throughout the show’s process.

“Especially with all the obstacles that we’ve faced lately, they have shown perseverance and resilience. They’ve really pushed forward and brought up the artistry at the same time, which is not an easy task,” Schifsky said. “It is a really important story to tell, and an industry a lot of people have never heard of. They really brought female voices to the forefront and acknowledged the huge impact that these small women have had.”