Published : Friday, March 15, 2019 | 4:53 PM
Mayfield Senior School’s spring musical Into the Woods is not only a live showcase for the diversity of artistic talent on campus, it is a major collaborative effort that has challenged each student at the all-girls Catholic school to bring her best to the stage.
Beneath the black cape of a screaming, mean old Witch is a student overcoming stage fright. The musicians tucked in the orchestra pit have never experienced the rigor of playing for a live stage production. Technical theatre students, pneumatic staplers in hand, built three massive, moveable trees.
“I’m so proud of how much everyone has grown in this production,” said Emma Gilliland ’19, who plays Cinderella. “The amount of work that everyone has put in is incredible—the tech crew, the musicians, the cast, and all of our teachers…It has really pushed everyone mentally, physically and emotionally. Everyone’s unique gifts have gone into this show.”
With its complex music by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods is a modern twist on famous Brothers Grimm fairy tales, with intertwining plots that explore the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and a childless baker and his wife all interact with the mean old Witch.
“It’s truly an ambitious undertaking that has challenged every student to step out of their creative comfort zone and push themselves for the good of the show,” said Kimberly Gomez, Conservatory for the Arts Director. “What you see on stage is a production that we are all so proud of—and our students took ownership of every step of the process.”
Abigail Gagnier, who plays the Witch, said that this performance is like no other.
“I learned in this show that I have to really commit, I have to really exaggerate to look good on stage,” the senior said.
Clarabelle Sullivan, a sophomore, plays the mother of Jack (as in Jack and the Beanstalk). In real life Clarabelle is known for her joyful attitude and positivity. On stage she must transform herself.
“Now I have to embody negativity and meanness,” she said. “I have definitely grown and this has definitely helped my endurance—practicing and practicing this role while staying in character.”
Mayfield’s entire Conservatory for the Arts programs had a hand in the production. Visual artists designed the cover of the program and photographers contributed. Members of the school Dance and Vocal conservatories performed and student instrumentalists played in the ensemble.
“Every student brought their own unique essence to each role in the show. From day one of auditions, their energy and joy in performing was evident and so exciting to work with,” said Andrea Sweeney, director of the show and Interim Theatre Conservatory instructor. “To be a part of guiding and challenging them to bring the magic of theatre to life has been a real privilege, and their fun choices and discoveries just keep growing every day.”
No one knows the details better than stage manager Dominique Jakowec, a senior and member of Mayfield’s Technical Theatre and Theatre Conservatories who intends to pursue stage management in college.
What’s important to know, she emphasized, is that Mayfield students built the set by themselves.
“This is definitely the most prop heavy show we have ever done,” Jakowec said. “It also has a lot of cues, a lot of lights, a lot of sound…It’s just an incredibly hard show and it’s so cool seeing it all come together.”
Into the Woods plays Friday March 15 and Saturday March 16 at 7 p.m. in Pike Auditorium, 500 Bellefontaine Street, Pasadena. Tickets are available at the door. Adults $10, students, $5.