By: Miles Estrada | Writer (Fiction)
May 31st, 2018
For the drama department of San Clemente High School, the last fortnight had been quite a laborious one. The two weeks in question consisted of both the final technical rehearsals and eight subsequent performances of Monty Python’s Spamalot, the spring musical on which the indefatigable actors, crewmen, and technicians had been hard at work since the 8th of January. With the show expected to open on the 12th of April, director Laurie Mason made it a point for her present contraband to give it their all and “not to feel comfortable on stage,” as she put it, for fear that their deliveries would fall victim to involuntary indolence.
Here is a summation of the events leading up to, and the initial performances of Spamalot.
Monday, the 9th of April, kicked off the rigorous rendezvous that was to follow. Costumes were a matter of concern for everyone at this point, particularly for one Zachary Malgrave (9), who, when putting together his garb for The Black Knight, had expostulated “why do I have so many gloves,” placing his reproach on the severely henpecked Maya Howie, the lead costume manager. That day also saw William Brown (11) improving his accent as he enquired to a sound man “are you micing me, sir?” with a perfectly English cadence — this, however, was not sustained for rehearsals, nor throughout the whole of the show’s run. In addition, the Green Room was tidied and set aside for the recreation of actors during downtime. Certain props had seen completion, and though a munificent number of hours had been put into their creation, they ultimately came off looking very substandard. And to draw this day to a close, leading up to tech rehearsal, some actors, such as Braxton McGraph (11), repeated their lines a myriad of times in succession, while others, specifically, Hayden Koerner (12), failed to make their presence known at all.
Tuesday, the 10th, seemed more problematic, with makeup being an utter nightmare. As one Emma Dawson (10) applied her own, thinking herself “very aesthetically pleasing,” Austin Arnwine (9) had to flag down at least three different persons in order to have so much as foundation caked onto him. Costume management had received an amelioration with the return of Anita after several weeks in Amsterdam, which in turn alleviated Maya’s strife and lifted the spirits of some of the more curmudgeonly actors. Having laboured incessantly on the production for the past four months, Justin McCoy (11), who plays Sir Robin, confided to his fellow comrades that had had to stay home from school so that he might catch up on his studies. He said his mother told him, as an alternative, “you could always quit theatre,” to which he scoffed. It became apparent that the four months were taking their toll.
Wednesday the 11th was none too remarkable. The only thing of any real import was the fact that each night, the role of Sir Not Appearing in This Show would be taken up by a different person. For the purpose of rehearsal, a man named Mark, whoever he was, took on the preliminary role, being clad in a cheap store-bought knight costume and given a handheld microphone with which he would deliver his lamentation. Also, for the preceding five weeks, everyone was to partake in full tech-rehearsal from 3:30-5:30 PM and then go to dinner, expecting to refine any necessary components from 7 -10 PM. Today, given that opening night was a mere day away, the schedule was switched ’round to where any and all refinements were made beforehand, and the whole tech-rehearsal was to take place at 7 PM after dinner, in preparation for how the proceedings would transpire when the show would open.
Thursday, opening night, actors were both dressed and mic’d with comparative celerity, some even receiving the wrong microphones. Most actors were enthusiastic towards the prospect of giving the best performance they could, while others, mainly Austin, had a sudden stage fright. This, however, would be quickly shirked, for at 6:30 PM, the auditorium was flooded with plenty of persons anticipating the drawing of the curtain. At 7 PM, the curtain was drawn, and Spamalot was greeted with effusive adoration from both the audience, and by those backstage. And that night, Sir Not Appearing was played by one Mr. Smith, a teacher of science and mathematics.
Friday night and Saturday matinee of that week were met with just as much adulation, yet the matinee itself saw few people. For Friday, Administrator Cameron Lovett played a rather ironical Sir Not Appearing (he being British and the majority of the cast American), and for the Saturday performances, the son and husband of Laurie Mason each took up the role, and were quite oblivious of their being ushered off stage. After a successful opening, there was, the following Wednesday, a pickup rehearsal so that the actors may brush up on their line before closing. This was carried out without costume nor makeup.
The next week was equally remunerative, and the Sir Not Appearings we’re this time more multifarious. Thursday saw Principal Carter being escorted out of the house, Friday a miscellaneous proctor, and on Saturday, Activities Director Matt Reid and newspaper adviser Mr. Miller. The turnout for closing seemed doubly pleasing, for evidently, amid the crowd, there sat one Jorge Garcia, an alumni of the school and star of the television series Lost and Hawaii Five-O, who thought the show “especially wonderful.” To have an actor of merit congratulate those just starting out is awfully high praise indeed.
After the final show, a cast party had taken place at Braxton’s house which carried over well into the midnight hour. At this event, Hayden expressed her delight with the production, deeming it “the best show we’ve had since Pirates of Penzance,” and in addition, a cumulative slide show of spontaneity before the spotlight over which the cast reflected with humor and good cheer, and which was bound to be cemented in their minds for ever after.
And thus wraps up the SCHS performance of Spamalot, or, as the ever-bumptious cast exalted on stage the final night, “the show that ends like this.”