Preparing for a Mystery: The Thespian Honor Society Production of CLUE
This spring, the NHS Thespian Honor Society will take on the challenge of conducting a teen version of Clue.
About a week ago, auditions were held for aspiring actors and members of the tech and styling crew. The cast list was released with a mix of freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The selected members started rehearsals immediately and have begun reading through the script. Since this play is being fully produced by the Thespian Honor Society, students are working as directors, set designers, sound technicians, and more.
Senior Jordan Baluyot has taken on the role of director along with another student, Valeria Flores. Baluyot is new to the program as she only became president of the Thespian Honor Society last year, but said "Mrs. Polynice, who is our advisor, Valeria, and I are all super ambitious about this play, and we wanted to end the year with a really good show like Clue." As a senior, Baluyot is dealing with a lot of end-of-year activities, and this makes the timing of the play particularly difficult. "But all the stress is healthy stress, and I'm really happy about how things are turning out!" she said.
According to Baluyot, freshman Ava Rodier is the stage manager for the play. Even though Rodier and many other members of the crew, including Jordan, have little to no stage experience, they remain "passionate and hardworking." "I am continually inspired each day by the people I work with. Everyone is so amazing, and I hope that everyone who watches the show is inspired to join our theatre program" said Baluyot.
Senior Ryan Barnes has never been a part of any of the Nutley plays. This year, he tried out for Clue and got the role of Colonel Mustard. Barnes said, “I’ve always had a passion for acting and this play finally gives me the opportunity to express both my personality and little known talent.”
Ryan has been working hard on improving his acting skills on his own time during his high school years and he tends to work solo, so stepping into the production world has been a challenge. “Being forced to work with a group is not something I’m used to, and I also had to delay a job to accommodate my rehearsal schedule.” The senior dedicates a lot of his time to reading over the script, memorizing the lines of his character and others who speak before him, and making sure to match his character’s personality with his own. This helps his lines to “flow easier” and “not feel forced and empty,” he said.
Freshman Sam Guanzon got the part of Mr. Green. This is his second play with the high school in only his first year of attending. “Clue is my favorite board game of all time!” said Guanzon. “I’ve always loved the idea of murder mystery games and how fun it is to solve a ‘who done it’”. Sam appreciates how laid back the environment has been so far. “I know so many people on the cast, and that makes it really special.”
Sam and the Clue cast have been practicing every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. For the actors, one of the hardest parts about being in a play is creating and portraying the character they will portray. Guanzon said, “I build my character by not only thinking about how my character would react to certain situations, but also incorporating ideas on how I would react to said situations.”
Senior Hamsini Radhakrishnan has starred in five plays in her years at NHS. Though this year, she decided to stay behind stage and work with the makeup crew. “I love performing on stage; I really do. But for musicals, I don’t know if I can sing on stage.” Radhakrishnan also spoke about her love for dance and how doing backstage work allowed her more time to practice her favorite hobby. The hours of practice that the main cast has to sacrifice to rehearsals was not ideal for her this year.
Opting for the make-up team is allowing Hamsini to express herself in another way. The senior likes expressing herself through art, and she is excited to have the opportunity to learn from professionals and gain experience in the dressing room. “I’m sure that if makeup was my main art I would be all over it, but I really just love performance makeup.” Radhakrishnan works best when she has a foot in all different subjects and does not enjoy limiting herself to one subject. The designs from the make-up and costuming crew are something that the awaiting audience should look forward to.
Clue will open on Friday, May 12 with its first of two performances. A large turnout is expected. For Hamsini and Ryan, this is their last chance to display their skills in performing arts at NHS.