The Making Of A Barlow Production

Twelve Angry Men cast During the last rehearsal before opening night.
Twelve Angry Men cast During the last rehearsal before opening night.
Ollie VanOrsow

The theatre department at Sam Barlow has put on some impressive shows in recent years including Wizard Of Oz, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Peter And The StarCatcher, and many others. But what really happens behind the scenes of a Barlow production? What steps go into it, and how long do these steps take? 

One of the first things we do after memorizing lines is blocking. Depending on the production that is being put on, this may take several days. When blocking, we go through the script and decide where each character moves, what they do while saying lines, and if the audience is able to see the actors as they do these actions, making sure that nobody is blocking the view of the audience. Blocking includes dancing and big character movements, as well as very simple things like moving a cup, arm movements, tapping someone on the shoulder, and other things such as that.

After lines and blocking are learned and memorized, and even during blocking sometimes, set pieces will be made. Depending on what show we are working on, and what set pieces are needed, they may be rented from other schools. Other times, they are made from various things, mostly wood, by students, and other volunteers. An example of props, and the amount needed, is with Wizard Of Oz and Twelve Angry Men. For Wizard Of Oz, a lot of large set pieces were needed, including an extension to the stage. 

Therefore, many volunteers worked on the set, and some pieces were borrowed from other schools such as. On the contrary, Twelve Angry Men only needed a few set pieces, so we did not need to borrow from other schools.

Costumes, along with hair and makeup, are a big part of Barlow’s productions, and any theatre performance. They represent the character you are playing and can help the audience to understand the period of time that is meant to be portrayed, and the characters themselves. It can also be useful so that the audience knows what is happening in a scene. Hair and makeup are done by two of our VIPs, Missy and Heidi Thies.

Theatre, although it seems to be very easy to put everything together, has a lot of steps that go into it which can be difficult to finish. Despite all the hard work, the final result is entertaining for everyone involved.

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