By Claire Rightley | Editor-in-Chief
On Nov. 11, a cast of seven students stood in front of many fellow high school thespians along with several judges to perform the play Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl at Manchester University. This performance was for a regional competition in hopes of qualifying to perform at the Indiana Thespian State Conference in January. The show not only qualified for the first time in Avon history, but the group also took home the awards for best tech, best actor, best ensemble and first place overall.
Director Caitlyn Spires said she “jumped up and shouted” when Eurydice won first place.
“This is only our second time competing at Regionals and being a chartered troupe,” Spires said. “Our students created a first-place show in only two weeks after working on our massive fall musical. I am so happy that all of their hard work paid off!”
Junior Erin McLain, who plays the Little Stone, said she was proud of the performance that the cast put on the day of Regionals.
“I think our Regionals performance was our best yet. After running the show so many times in rehearsal, being able to do it in front of an audience that actually laughed at the jokes felt really good,” said McLain.
Eurydice is a modern telling of the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, a love story gone wrong. Eurydice, played by junior Delaney Butler, is forced to decide between staying in the underworld with her father or rejoining her husband back on earth. Butler said she enjoyed playing her dynamic character.
“My favorite part of playing Eurydice is probably learning to grow with her,” Butler said. “She becomes more mature as she gains more experience and knowledge, and I can only hope to grow as an actor in the same way.”
The cast for the show was relatively small, and Butler said that another positive aspect of the rehearsal process and performances with the relationships created in the cast.
“My favorite part of rehearsals was probably getting closer with the cast,” Butler said. “There’s only seven of us so we kind of have to like each other. I love the cast though, they’re all wonderful people.”
Along with a seven person, ten techies also came to Manchester to assist with the performance. Junior Daniel Kruze was asked to participate by Spires.
“I got involved with this show after I worked as a rail operator for The Addams Family, and Ms. Spires asked if I wanted to start training to become a stage manager; I naturally said yes, as I have always had an interest in theater, coming from a family of theater people,” Kruze said.
Another facet of the performance at Regionals is that the show must fit within a 45 minute time frame, but placing all the set at the beginning of the show and the tear down of the set at the end is factored into the time. Although Kruze was the stage manager for the show, for the actual performances, he mainly helped with the set movement.
“I was not calling this show like a stage manager’s usual duty,” Kruze said. “For this show, I was sort of like the de facto crew chief, as Caitlyn Spires put me in charge of the set construction and deconstruction.”
Kruze said he was “both elated and surprised” when the show won first place.
“I was obviously enormously proud of our tech team and our cast for putting in the hard work, and I was very excited about the accolades we received, but I have to say I was quite surprised because last year we didn’t do nearly so well at regionals,” Kruze said.
Senior Lauren Metzler said she felt similarly about the awards, and that she was “incredibly happy” with the results.
“I was thinking about how far we’ve come in just one year. We went from basically getting nothing last year to getting first place this year,” Metzler said. “It was an amazing experience.”
Metzler and McLain are two of the three Stones that make up a Greek chorus. In a Greek chorus, many lines are delivered in unison and McLain said delivering those lines was difficult initially, but the three students eventually overcame the obstacle.
“My favorite part was being able to get so in sync with the other Stones because by the time we got to Regionals we had everything in time down to the very breath,” McLain said. “It was kind of crazy to be so in-tune with other people but it made the show that much better.”
All crew and cast members will go on to the Indiana Thespian State Conference in January to compete against the productions that placed from the other five regionals. Kruze said he isn’t worried about winning State.
“My goals for State would be to fix the few minor issues that we had with our performance at Regionals, and then put on a great show for the judges, the peers and ourselves,” Kruze said. “The bottom line of a performance is to both put on an entertaining show and do justice to the artist’s and the director’s visions. My goals are for us to put on the most coordinated and most enthusiastic performance we can, and hopefully see some similarly energetic performances from other schools.”
Spires said the main goal at State is for the students to get something out of the event and to grow.
“My only hope for State is that our students enjoy performing for their peers and get helpful feedback from the judges,” Spires said. “We are competing against the top 12 productions throughout the state, and it is anyone’s game to win. I’m not one for die hard competition, so I’m not worried about where we place. We will do our show and leave proud of our work.”