It’s time to break a leg for the Hazen thespians as they gear up for the fall semester play, “Pillow Talk.”
The show, based off the 1957 movie of the same title, stars seniors Eden Allen and Chase Mellinger.
The duo have been regulars at various shows since freshman year.
“When I started off my freshman year, I was super nervous because I looked at high school and thought, ‘This is where everybody is really mature’… definitely over the time, I’ve gotten used to it. I can’t say it’s completely natural because there’s still that aspect of fear. But it’s a lot better and a lot of fun,” said Mellinger.
While they’ve played roles of different natures, the young actors said their roles in this romantic comedy challenged them to grow in their craft.
“(My character) Jan goes through several changes,” said Allen. “At first she’s uptight and doesn’t know what she wants. In the second act she doesn’t recognize what she wants. It’s fun to play those character changes and have the audience know (my character) as a person and the story that revolves around her.”
“At the beginning (my character Brad) is just a player,” said Mellinger. “He’s messing with these girls. It’s just a game to him. It’s really hard to stoop down to that level. He is a terrible person. But it is a lot of fun because with acting I get to try to be somebody that’s not myself…. It’s difficult but it’s a lot of fun.”
THE THIRD MAIN CHARACTER
Allen and Mellinger aren’t the only stars in the show. Director and theater arts teacher Brett Crueger would argue there’s a third lead character that’s worth paying attention to — the set.
What’s unique about this production, as well as the several other production Crueger has directed over the past few years, is his collaboration with construction and industrial technology teacher Jonathan Clark.
Clark and his construction class has been building play sets for nearly four years.
This production is no different. Two weeks before opening night, Clark’s class was hard at work to create the apartment spaces in which the characters live in.
“I expose these construction tech kids to set creation,” said Clark. “It’s another way to teach residential construction concepts while we do something to support the arts.”
Being able to create a set not only allows students to practice what they’re learning, but it also helps them learn skills they’ll need in a construction career, Clark said.
“These students get recognized for their work… and it’s closely related to real-world things. There’s a lot of problem solving that goes into this, a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, things we can’t create in the classroom all the time,” he added.
To prepare, students watched the movie. They were also invited to see select scenes of the play to understand the kind of space the actors work in.
“It give them some context,” said Clark. “We’re able to have a discussion like, ‘Now you’ve seen this. What should these apartments look like?’ Beyond the geometry, we have to create that character here. We have to create these different scenes to capture that time period as well… and the audience gets to fill in the rest with their imagination.”
While the students in the construction class may not be interested in theater, they’re playing an important role in storytelling.
“It’s like with movies, where (the characters are) at is as important as what they’re doing. (The set) adds a benefit to them,” said Crueger.
Pillow Talk performances are 7 p.m. on Nov 30, Dec 1, 2, 8 and 9, and 1 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Hazen High School Performing Arts Center, 1101 Hoquiam Ave NE. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for students with ASB and veterans, and can be purchased at the box office.