The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 14, 2013

Geneva to present 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'

Students have opportunities to learn many different aspects of theater production

For the Star Beacon

GENEVA — Geneva High School Theater Department is preparing for the fall production. Students have been rehearsing, advertising and eagerly awaiting the show’s arrival. Robin Christopher, the head of the theater program, has devoted countless hours of work to ensure that the theater program continues to flourish and that every show is the best that it can possibly be – including the current fall show.

Since Mrs. Christopher came to the Theater Department in 2001, she has overseen the production of three shows every year: the fall play, the winter musical and the spring one acts. These yearly shows offer students the opportunity to experience the theater in many different aspects. There are opportunities as actors, stage crew, set design, technical crew, costume design, make-up artists, publicity and many other responsibilities that all come together to produce a quality presentation. Geneva’s theater program gives students the opportunity to contribute to the unique opportunities that each show offers.

Mrs. Christopher admits that she tends to prefer the fall show because it is usually less stressful, but is quick to add that she likes to work with something that has a little depth to it. This attitude is what has kept the Theater Department flourishing at Geneva High School.

“We are choosing not to be in a survival mode, but in a growth mode; nothing is going to stop us from learning,” said Mrs. Christopher.

The lure of presenting challenging productions is what keeps the audiences coming back and the students engaged in the productions. This fall the Geneva Theater Department is presenting the 1920’s production of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The show will be presented 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Geneva High School auditorium. The show is a comedy and presents some unique challenges, such as the timing of line delivery and the intense technical elements. The young cast is excited to finally show what their hard work has produced and cannot wait until the first show.

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” relies heavily on the two main characters, Dorothy and Lorelei, played by Erika Perko and Julie Hanchosky respectively. Both girls are excited to perform and have been working together nonstop.

Hanchosky calls the play “seriously fun” and has enjoyed getting to know her fellow actress, Erika Perko. These young ladies have been working together nearly nonstop running lines, practicing their blocking and perfecting their characters. Perko has also enjoyed meeting all of the new freshmen who have joined the theater this year. The entire cast of the play is fairly young, so there are many new faces around the set, even key roles are being played by freshmen and sophomores: Eric Schwegler, Brooke Jewell and even Perko herself.

With a young cast however, there is a required amount of extra work. The comedic factor of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” has challenged every actor to work overtime to keep from “breaking character” during the funniest moments of the play. There is a general professional attitude among the students, however, as they work toward perfecting the show. Every actor and technician has put in extra hours to meet Mrs. Christopher’s high expectations.

Even though this show is not the most daunting play the Geneva Theater Department has ever tackled, Mrs. Christopher conceded that “No show is easy when you put your heart into it.” The students really pride themselves for producing quality shows year round that have obvious heart put into them.

The Theater Department is excited for the future and will be performing the musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” this winter. This play is “dance heavy,” filled with intense singing and features a large cast. This show is bound to require everything the students and Mrs. Christopher can give.

Despite the many challenges ahead, there is a general sense of excitement for the future of the theater program. The future is looking bright and will continue to reveal the talent and dedication of the many individuals committed to excellent in theater at Geneva High School. Mrs. Christopher has great plans and high hopes for the entire department and its many members.