Before the Lights Fall


Juliana Diatezua, Copy Editor

At 6:30 on Wednesday night, the student body of Wellington High School will finally be given explanation. The “artsy” kids, eternally trying to put into words what it is exactly that they do in their Literary Magazine course–outside of drinking the instant coffee provided by teacher Mr. Zucker–will finally display what work they’ve done the first quarter.

One aspect of the show that the literary magazine staff prides itself on is the smooth transitions between performers. Even though the venue—in the courtyard behind Mr. Zucker’s room—may be smaller than the later shows that take place in the WHS theater, those that work as stage hands still hold jobs of considerable clout.

Running back stage they assure every performer is fit to their microphones and on stage and ready by the time they are slotted. With a set list divided into two acts consisting of 40 different performancesthis is no small thing. Such attention to detail can sometimes go overlooked by the audience in favor of the ambiance that these smaller shows possess. Akin to all else that goes on backstage, the setting of the shows is held incredibly important.

The preparations that go into converting the empty courtyard into the performance hall that it becomes once the sun sets is one the class devotes much of its time to.

Cassandra Ledger, senior and first year showcase producer, spoke on what the work is like for the miniscule things alone. “I’ve done a lot with decorating for the show, which takes up a lot of time. The centerpieces have been very tedious to make.”

One could ask why the production—a seemingly minor part when compared to the actual performances—comes off as a large deal to those at the head of its production. “The only real pressure is to make the show even better than last year. If it’s a crappy show, being the first show, people will assume the other shows will be the same,” Ledger explained.

Due to this, there’s always the worry that whatever work done behind the scenes will fall flat when the performers don’t put in as much dedication as those that the audience doesn’t see.

“We have a lot of new kids in the class, so they need to be told what to do; and we need to keep a tab on the performers, because we don’t want them showing up not knowing what’s happening,” Ledger said.

First year performer, Emily Offenkrantz, junior, made sure she would not disappoint. When it came to balancing schoolwork and practice, she explained, “I practice about three hours a day, even before this. I just do it because it’s fun,” in regards to the self-written piece she chose after narrowing down her multiple options.

Possibly the fact that this is to be Offenkrantz’s first show contributes to her focus on perfecting her piece. Those familiar to the Literary Magazine’s showcases confronted the idea of any possible pressure in nailing down their pieces with nonchalance.

Robert Harter and Aja Padovan, both seniors and frequent acts on the quarterly set lists, had a less strategic method to how they each prepared. Harter said he faced little pressure due in part to the piece he’s doing being “99 percent improvisation.”

For Padovan, her goal was even more basic. “Well, first I have to learn that piece, because it’s in a week,” Padovan said.

The strategy to pulling off a perfect show, it seems, is being calm. Victor Lucena, junior and second year performer, passed on words of wisdom to any first-timers out there who are worried about how they might do: have fun. Such advice was a theme from most of the veterans of the showcase scene, as they saw the most important part of the show as being exposing new talents in a low-pressure performance.

And for any that are still worried about how they might do Wednesday night, Padovan offers a reminder on what is most often overlooked: “Don’t forget to breathe. It sure is one of the greatest moments of high school and definitely ours.”