The Dark Side: Fall play “The Sparrow” to incorporate darker themes, more serious aspects than past plays


Lily McAndrews

SETTING THE SCENE (RIGHT): Senior Mady Phillips acts out one of her scenes in the play. This year’s play will be a more dramatic one compared to previous plays and will hopefully appeal to the audiences’ emotions.

Livvie Hurley

Most people are familiar with the quirky, comedic plays that students put on seasonally, but according to actor and junior Luke Vreeman, this year’s fall play, “The Sparrow,” which opened yesterday in the Studio Theater and continues through Saturday, surrounds a darker storyline.

Lily McAndrews
Junior Gabby Marshall watches as other students act out their parts. Plays at CHS allow for students to be more invovled in the process.

Vreeman said, “A lot of the time (the plays are) more serious. There are obviously light-hearted moments because you wouldn’t want to watch something that’s negative all the time, but it’s pretty dramatic for the most part.”

According to Vreeman, “The Sparrow” follows the story of a survivor of a bus crash returning to her hometown. The main character has superpowers but tries to integrate into daily life. Vreeman will play the role of coach Gerald Adams.

“‘The Sparrow’ is kind of a comic book story,” Vreeman said. “(It’s) about a girl who is one of the last surviving people in her school class. She’s the only one, actually. She tries to reintegrate back into her town, and the town is welcoming, but there are a couple things along the way that throw a twist in the story, and it’s interesting to watch the characters and the plot develop.”

Performing arts teacher Maggie Cassidy will direct the fall play this year. She said she tries to choose plays that speak to her. According to Cassidy, she was drawn to this play in particular because of the superhero element involved with the main character.

“I’m usually more drawn to a dramatic play anyway,” she said. “I just picked this play because I really liked the idea that (the main character) was almost like a superhero, that she’s got these powers. I think it’s kind of fun. I feel like everybody right now in this day and age is loving all of the movies that are based on comic books and all these superheroes, and I thought this would be a play that people would think (is) interesting and unique. Plus, it’s got really cool movement and blocking, and I just liked all the characters in it, so I thought it would be a great choice for this year.”

Cassidy said casting actors and actresses for dramatic plays is different from comedic plays.

“If I’m doing a more comedic play, then I need people who can be ridiculous characters, who have good comedic timing, who can get the jokes across. When I’m doing a drama, it’s definitely about (if they can) portray the character and convey the feelings that characters (are) going through,” she said.

Vreeman said the seriousness of the play helps develop versatility as an actor.

Lily McAndrews
Performing arts teacher Maggie Cassidy (middle) sits with sophomore Mikayla “Kayla” Phillips (left) and junior Emily Sanders (right) as she watches theater students rehearse their scenes from the fall play. Cassidy said serious plays are harder to act and convey emotion.

Vreeman said, “Because we normally do more comedic plays, dramatic pieces are something that we don’t normally get the chance to do. It’s a nice way to develop versatility as an actor for everyone that’s in it.”

Both Cassidy and performing arts teacher Jim Peterson, who will direct this year’s winter play, said serious plays require a different, and sometimes more challenging type of acting.

Lily McAndrews
SETTING THE SCENE (RIGHT): Senior Mady Phillips acts out one of her scenes in the play. This year’s play will be a more dramatic one compared to previous plays and will hopefully appeal to the audiences’ emotions.

Peterson said, “It’s a different type of acting when you’re doing a serious play. There’s a famous quote, ‘Dying is easy, comedy is hard.’ (It’s) the idea that (in) doing a serious play, you don’t have to worry so much about audience reaction as you would for a comedy. There is a challenge in doing a dramatic piece, but you’re not worried about getting the audience to laugh, you’re worried about trying affect other emotions. It does provide a challenge for actors to do a dramatic role.”

Actor and junior Kelsey McShay will play Margaret and Phoebe Marks in the play. McShay said she agrees with Peterson and Cassidy that serious plays are more challenging to act in.

“I’d say it definitely is a little more challenging just because you have to be a lot more serious and you have to make sure you can convey that to the audience as well,” McShay said.

According to Vreeman, the play takes place in the Studio Theater this year, a change from past years, with the original setting being the auditorium. He said moving it to a smaller, more intimate space will be a challenge.

Vreeman also said the play will have a strong emotional appeal to the audience.

He said, “You’ll develop a close connection to all the characters, and also there are really nice moments in there that make you go, ‘Yeah, that’s how high school is supposed to be.’”