The experiment has been a success

The Tiger Theatre closes the weekend with a fantastic performance

Senior+Bree+Barnett%2C+center%2C+plays+the+character+%22Ambrosia%22+in+the+performance+%E2%80%9CA+Chemical+Imbalance%3A+A+Jekyll+and+Hyde+Play.%E2%80%9D+The+show+is+focused+in+the+Victorian+Era%2C+and+satirically+comments+on+society.

Photo by Racheal Sizemore

Senior Bree Barnett, center, plays the character “Ambrosia” in the performance “A Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play.” The show is focused in the Victorian Era, and satirically comments on society.

Story by Colton Johnson, editor in chief

A hush falls over the crowd as the cast and crew wait in the shadows, holding their breaths backstage. The lights dim–there is a pause of silent anticipation. Then a single spotlight illuminates sophomore Audrey Haskins, and the curtains are drawn open as her voice fills the theater.

The Tiger Theatre Company brought its first play of the year, “A Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play,” to life on the stage this past Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

“The show centers around [Henry Jekyll’s] desire to split his personality and have one good side and one evil side. The plot and comedic mayhem advances after he creates the potion,” theater director Melissa Newton said. “The original story is not comedic at all; it’s more like a gothic horror type of novel. There were characters and plot lines not in the original script; the playwright used the book as a springboard but did a totally different interpretation of the play.”

While the plot line may have been different, the satirical storyline proved to be a success for the company and was accepted well by the audiences, especially the senior class who had the opportunity to watch the show during school hours.

“The senior performance went really well, and for some of the seniors it was their very first live performance,” Newton said. “From what I was told, they really enjoyed the experience, and all the money raised from that performance is going to a theater troupe in Houston that was negatively affected by the hurricane.”

Not only was it a first time for a few audience members seeing a live, onstage performance, but for some on the cast, it was their first time to be on stage at the school. The experience proved to be just as enjoyable for them as it was for those who were watching.

“It was the best show I’ve ever done. I’ve never had a more welcoming and loving cast, and I’ve never felt more at home,” sophomore Emma Daniel said. “I’m one of the youngest people on the cast, but the upperclassmen took me under their wings even though it was my first show, and that’s not really something I’m used to having.”

Photo by Racheal Sizemore
Senior Brennon Cope acted as the lead role; during this time he had to learn to master separate roles while maintaining the same character.

For returning actors and actresses, the show proved to be just as memorable as shows they had been in with the company previously. With such a small cast, the relationships and inside jokes that developed will certainly be cherished among the hearts of those who were apart of the show.

“I’m really happy to have this cast as my last fall show at Texas High. We made so many memories and I’m glad I get to hold them all in my heart,” senior Bree Barnett said. “One show I got lipstick all over Emma on stage and during the senior performance chocolate dripped down my chin and onto my dress, and it was all just really funny.”

However, along with the fun rehearsals complete with dancing back stage, almost fatally breaking teacups and countless meals shared when rehearsals ran late, there was a sense of seriousness and deep character development that the characters had to go through in order to bring the Victorian upper class society to life. This was especially important for senior Brennon Cope, playing the double personality of Jekyll and Hyde.

It was a challenge because usually when you get in character, you have to put yourself in that time period and in their shoes. It’s a greater challenge to not only put yourself in that time period and their shoes, but to change your gender on stage.”

— Damien Hamilton

“Usually you go on stage and you have one mind set of: This is my character. This is what I believe, but when there’s two vividly different characters it became a little hard to differentiate between the two. It took a lot of work with Mrs. Newton and my body movements but it became easy to slide in and out of each personality,” Cope said. “During my final show, I threw out my shoulder in a scene where I beat the ground, so all throughout Act 2, I had a warm towel on my shoulder and everyone was doing their best to make it easier on me, but the show ended up looking great from what I heard.”

These setbacks and obstacles were faced by many others among the cast including senior Damien Hamilton, playing the part of Lady Throckmortonshire, a wealthy elite woman.

“It was a challenge because usually when you get in character, you have to put yourself in that time period and in their shoes. It’s a greater challenge to not only put yourself in that time period and their shoes, but to change your gender on stage,” Hamilton said. “My wig fell off, I tripped over my dress and almost broke my ankles in the heels. It’s something that not many people have to do, but I’m glad to say I was one of those few to accomplish that even with the setbacks. I’m so glad I got to work with such an amazing cast for all the hours we were together.”

However, it is important to remember all the work that goes on behind the scenes in order to allow the show to run smoothly. This includes lights, set design, hair, makeup, costumes, sound, dressers, props and many other aspects that made the show as successful as it was. If it wasn’t for their hard work, the show would’ve been lacking the magic within it.

“I started out as costume master, but I slowly worked into other areas. I did set crew, helped with hair, did makeup and helped build the set,” senior Olivia Parks said. “Emma Daniels and Rachel Johnson had to have little tiny curls, and since Rachel’s hair is so thick, it took like two hours to curl, and Emma’s took about 30 minutes. We had to do all of that for about ten days. It ended up being over 20 hours of just curling hair which is crazy to think about.”

Every person who worked to make the show a success were necessary whether they were on stage or off the stage, especially the understudies who stayed up at the theater for countless hours with the actors and actresses. They brought a sense of life to the theater.

“Even though understudies aren’t usually the most recognized, we wanted to make sure it was a perfect show,” freshmen Cate Rounds said. “I loved watching Colton get dragged onto the couch by Emma and Brennon and look like a giant pretzel every night. I loved everything about the experience. It was such an amazing cast, and even though I’m a freshmen, I felt so accepted. I would do it all over again if I could.”