Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by Ethan Campbell
Each year, a dedicated group of Saratoga students works to perfect several different theatrical performances. “The Matchmaker” is the high school Drama Club‘s most recent work, debuting on Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 p.m. through Friday and Saturday night, November 6 and 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Loewenberg Auditorium. Bob Berenis, veteran director of the annual play, spoke to the Lightning Rod as to what it means to be a director of a high school theatre production.
“Each director has a vision,” said Berenis. “There is no one factor that goes into casting.” He thus dismisses the notion that there may be some form-fitting when it comes to casting repeat members. In other words, everyone auditioning has the opportunity to snag any role, as long as they can bring the character to life, and no play is selected for the anticipated return of experienced members, according to Berenis.
Berenis said it is not until after pre-auditions, during the second or third week of school, that the director can effectively gauge his hand. He mulls over the talent and fits the show to the students. Yield is not the only variable that goes into selecting each piece: past shows also play a key role in the decision making process.
This year’s play is a Thornton Wilder piece that employs a fourth wall break, adding a healthy variety when compared to last year’s “Almost, Maine.” Berenis said it is nearly impossible to determine the outcome or success of the current year’s turnout.
“It’s always up in the air,” he said of the turnout, adding that there are too many variables to consider when attempting to make comparisons. He said he aims to teach the students to be the best that they can possibly be, assuming the role as teacher in several aspects.
As mentor and the musical director, Berenis said he aims to make up for the lack of an acting program outside of the drama club. He said he strives to push kids to become experienced in the craft and to put themselves on a higher level.
“Mediocrity kills me,” Berenis added.
When asked if he sees any dramatic change in ability, Berenis is quick to give high praise to his students.
“We have a great theatre team, and when you ask kids to excel, they excel.”
Ethan Campbell is a senior and a new contributor to The Lightning Rod.