Jada Gibson ’18 and Ruby Cramer ‘19 rehearsing a scene where the witches are placing a curse upon lead actor Will Fulginiti ’18.
After November’s theatrical treat, “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street,” the Wellesley High School Drama Society will present an original comedy, “What’s Fair is Faire.” Performances will be on Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, March 17, at 5:30 p.m.
Under the expert direction of WHS Drama Specialist Stephen Wrobleski, a cast of almost 40 students has spent the past two months developing their play using the method of “devised theater.” Devised theater starts with a central theme and follows a collaborative process of improvisation and adaption to create a script. This year’s theme is a Renaissance faire.
“What’s Fair is Faire” is a farcical comedy, very different from 2017’s award-winning drama, “Now In Color.”
“Last year we were dealing with important societal themes and issues. This year’s play uses humor and farce to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously, to stop trying to be perfect, and, instead, to just relax and be ourselves,” Wrobleski elaborates. The story begins with a young man getting fired from a traditional office job, at which point he pursues his dream of working at a Renaissance faire. A campy tale of witches and curses ensues.
“The creation of the winter play is complex,” explains Wrobleski, a beloved and gifted educator who was Wellesley High School’s 2017 Teacher of the Year. “We begin with our central starting point and from there we create improvisations. After reworking and editing, these improvisations become scenes, some of which make our final script.” This creative and adaptive process makes winter show a unique and memorable experience for Wrobleski’s students. Under his tenure, this is the WHS Drama Society’s tenth original play.
Student Directors Cam Ayer ‘18 and Emma Downie ’18, when not on stage as part of the cast, have helped lead rehearsals and scene development. Downie is particularly excited about the visual appeal of the show: “Cast members have learned to sword fight, and will actually be dueling on stage. And the traditional Renaissance costumes look amazing!”
Brian McManimon, WHS’s production manager and technical director, coaches a talented group of 35 tech students in set design, sound, and lighting. Pierce Gillim ‘18 and Bri Ko ’18, veterans of the WHS Performing Arts program (and subjects of recent POPS Townsman Senior Profiles), serve as student stage managers. Their multi-layered expertise, spanning both on- and off-stage, will ensure the production runs smoothly.
A shorter piece, the WHS Freshman and Sophomore Winter Play, will precede the showing of “What’s Fair is Faire.” Student directors for this play, which is also self-scripted, are Kevin Mahoney ‘19, AJ Masiello ‘19, and Alexa Norton ‘19.
To cap off a superb month of theater, WHS is once again hosting the Massachusetts Collaborative Theater Festival on Saturday, March 17. The festival is an annual event during which drama students perform plays for their peers and an outside audience, participate in theater workshops, and receive feedback from judges. This year, eight local high schools, including Wellesley, Weston, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin, are participating with an estimated 300-plus students. The festival is open to the public throughout the day; members of the community are encouraged to stop by. "What’s Fair is Faire" will be performed at 5:30 p.m.
The performance comes with a “PG-13” rating; the production contains adult language and is not appropriate for young children.
Tickets are adults $15, students/seniors $10, general admission. To purchase tickets online, visit www.wellesleyps.org/performingarts. Tickets will also be available at the door.
For a complete MTCF festival schedule or further information about the weekend’s activities, visit the Wellesley Performing Arts Department website at www.wellesleyps.org/performingarts or call the office during business hours at (781-446-6210, x5720).