Two spring theatre productions within two weeks of each other brought a frenzy of artistry, drama and a lot of set changes to Pike Auditorium as Godspell and Everywoman featured two all-female casts of musicians, singers and actors on stage.
In Godspell, students in the all-school production said they stretched their skills, with actors singing, dancers acting and instrumentalists rising to the challenge of playing for a fast-paced production.
In Everywoman, Theatre Conservatory students rewrote the medieval morality play Everyman into their own powerhouse voice of “Every(wo)man,” delving into artistic interpretation to design and make Commedia-style masks to represent their characters.
The season opened with Godspell—and many of our students said they didn’t know much about this old from “way back” the 70s!
“At first we were hoping for a more modern show, and didn’t know what to expect, but once we embraced it, it was a great experience,” said Nick Jakowec ’19.
Michelle New ’18, who sings with our Women’s Ensemble, landed the role of Jesus—and it was the first time she had ever participated in a high school theatre production.
“Playing a male, and then to play Jesus, is really hard to do,” she said. “But everyone worked so hard and supported me. I think we were able to bring our strengths to the forefront.”
Only two short weeks later our popular Technical Theatre Conservatory remodeled the stage for Everywoman.
At Mayfield, the girls do it all, including set construction under the supervisor of Technical Theatre Director Phil Velasco.
“We learned how to resurface things, cut metal and metal piping—we had never cut metal before” Nick said. “We learned how to attach astro turf. The tech team was incredible.”
When the curtain raised on Everywoman, the audience was mesmerised by the masks of this classic morality play re-imagined by teenagers.
Knowledge, Good Deeds, Death, Kindred, Fellowship and God are among the allegorical characters in the fifteenth-century play that tells the tale of the dying Everyman (or at Mayfield, the Everywoman) and the qualities that matter most in life.
Our Conservatory students said the play represented their own thoughtful journey in theatre studies.
Jadyn Norris ’20, who plays the role of a sister to Everywoman, said she emphasized multiple colors and softness in her mask to reflect the helpful and caring ways of her character.
“Everyone in the show had to ask themselves, ‘what is the intent of the character?’ as they designed their masks,” Jadyn said.
Work began on the masks in January under the guidance of Beth Peterson, a master puppet and mask maker affiliated with the Los Angeles Music Center’s Art Integration Partnership.
The two-show season represents Mayfield’s immersive Conservatory for the Arts curriculum, which offers students the opportunity to explore diverse modes of performance and art, said Art Department Chair and Theatre Conservatory Director Sam Robinson.
Abby Gagnier ’20, who performed in Godspell, echoed the sentiments of other performing arts students.
“We really had to learn to put ourselves out there,” she said. “And it just gives you so much confidence when you do it—it takes a lot but it’s worth it when it all comes together.”