Patriot Players to perform contemporary ‘Snow Angel’
November 6, 2012
By Lillian O'Rorke
The show must go on.
That phrase, known to thespians worldwide, rang true for the Patriot Players this fall when they found out the new performing arts center at Liberty High School would not be ready in time for their production of “Snow Angel.”
“I know how construction goes, so I wasn’t completely surprised when it wasn’t ready,” Director Katherine Klekas said.
Construction of the new theater facility was originally set to finish in the summer of 2012 before it was pushed back. The latest estimate for its completion is mid-to-late December, according to Steve Crawford, the Issaquah School District’s director of capital projects.
The show will go on, but at a different venue. Nearby Lord of Life Lutheran Church has offered to let the students stage their play in its open, domed sanctuary for five nights.
Departing from the recent tradition of opening in the fall with heavy classics like “The Crucible” and “Romeo and Juliet,” “Snow Angel” tells a contemporary story of teen angst and discovery. An early work of David Lindsay-Albaire, who won a Pulitzer Prize for “Rabbit Hole,” the play follows a group of 15 teenagers over the course of a single snow day as they deal with Eva, who, shrouded in mystery, seems to have simply appeared out of a snow bank.
“It’s a little complicated because there is not a clear view on who exactly she is,” said senior Page Smith, who plays Eva. “It’s a good challenge for me. It’s a good learning experience.”
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Unlike the Liberty drama program’s flashier productions with grand costumes and large ensembles, the play is more conservative with suggestive set pieces, edged with snow to hint at the blizzard that’s forced the school doors shut. There is no need for a costumer as the actors are all wearing their own clothes.
“I think it’s fun to mix things ups,” Klekas said. “The kids love it, they really do.”
Don’t be fooled. The austerity of the play allows for topics, such as mortality and letting go. And not everything can be caught the first time around, which is why, explained Klekas, audience members should come back for a second show.
“It’s simple, but also has a lot of deep-rooted meaning to it,” said Addison Halpin-Hagman, who plays Clifford, the dimwitted comic relief. “I really like it a lot. I like that it has so many layers and that it can be funny and serious at the same time. It’s short and easy and it allows us to do a bunch of stuff.”
The director originally chose “Snow Angel” for the intimacy of the black box theater, which is the smaller of the two new performance spaces under construction at Liberty.
“You just have more flexibility when you aren’t filling this huge theater,” Klekas said.
The cast and crew hope to transfer those same intimate qualities of the black box theater to the domed sanctuary, where they will perform the play “in the round.”
Unlike in a traditional theater, the stage will be in the center with the audience arranged around it. There is no stage curtain — the configuration allows the actors to enter and exit through the audience.
The setting also allows for the cast and crew to be more creative. Klekas said she is hoping to try projecting falling snow or snowflakes on the domed ceiling, and that the cast has put together several soundscapes to help move the audience through the story. Different sounds created by students include the howling wind of a blizzard and a combination of voices, hissing and plastic bags to emulate fire.
“For probably most the people, it will be the first time they see theater in the round,” Klekas said. “I hope they have a fun and expanding theatrical experience.”
The first performance of Liberty’s Improv Club will follow the hourlong show.