Junior Production Class Presents A Halloween Thriller


Nandini Dasari, Assistant Editor

An electrifying drama, entitled “Wiley and the Hairy Man,” made its debut on Thursday, October 27 in the Black Box Theater, with additional performances on Friday and Saturday. An adaptation of a children’s folktale, the show follows a young boy as he navigates a swamp and the creatures that haunt it. The play is tradition for the junior varsity production class, which regularly begins the school year with a children’s show.

Prior to their performance at the high school, the junior varsity theater visited several elementary schools, presenting their show to children aged kindergarten through second grade. The show serves as an opportunity for theater students to generate interest among younger students.

“I think it is the kind of show that everyone will enjoy, but definitely is focused more to a kid centered audience. It’s fun and cute and silly, but deals with universal subjects,”  theater director Ms. Victoria Haley said.

Students started work on the production early in the school year, beginning auditions in mid-August. The audition process required students to memorize monologues, perform within small groups, and choreograph dances. Students ultimately sought one of four main roles: Wiley, the protagonist, the Hairy Man, and Wiley’s mother and pet dog. The remainder of the production class became chorus members, serving as an ongoing stage presence. 

“We’re basically like creatures of the swamp. We go around and do interpretive dances and sometimes we turn into things like trees, or a stick, or a bush, or quicksand. We’re kind of like the narrators of the story,” junior Eleanor Hall said.

Students explain that the show is unique in how it engages the audience. Live music is provided by cast members not performing, and characters make entrances through pathways cleared among the audience.

“The audience is part of the set and members of the chorus move throughout the audience to fully immerse them in the setting,” junior Katie Barcroft said.

The show’s elaborate set design necessitated the efforts of the theater tech class, a group that worked on lighting, props and most importantly, costumes. The bulk of costume design efforts went toward producing a massive puppet for the role of the Hairy Man.

“Our tech crew did an overall amazing job making a fully functional giant body,” senior Andrew Buchanan said.

During the weeks leading up to the show, students practiced diligently, attending before and after school rehearsals alongside their normal 90-minute class period. The show, which is notorious for being physically exerting, demands an exceptional amount of time and effort from cast members.

“For the past month, first period has included crawling all over the ground, lifting cast members in the air, and storytelling using only our bodies,” Barcroft said. “It’s not like many other plays you may have seen before. It’s a movement based play, and there’s a certain rhythm to it,” senior Camille Ojeda added.

The atmosphere leading up to the show has been one of stress and nervous excitement as the cast works to perfect their production. Although students may lack motivation at times, they claim that the long hours of practice were worth it.

“The cast is super supportive. We have a deep trust and appreciation for each other, and it’s always hyped and energetic during rehearsals. It’s always a fun time together as we work to create a beautiful end product and tell a story,” senior Ariana Derby said.