York hosts first Fall Drama Festival


Photo by CeCe Lampa

Junior Bridey Costello and Sophomore Emily Walker performing the first scene of the second act at the Tilford House.

For the first time ever at York High School showcases a Fall Drama Festival the last weekend of October, featuring two amazing shows with brilliant casts.

The fall shows include The Children’s Hour, a play by Lillian Hellman from the 1930’s, and Next To Normal, a contemporary rock musical by Brian Yorkey. Choir teacher Rebecca Marianetti, director of Next to Normal, has worked hard with students throughout the rehearsal process, proving an emotionally difficult process for everyone involved.

“While there are days where people leave rehearsal crying, that’s okay,” said Marianetti. “Addressing important topics is much of what theater means to us. We need to help each other, and theater is a powerful way of doing so.”

Photo by Eileen King
Juniors Mike Bindeman (left) and Wilke Macariola (right) take a break in between scenes.

Next to Normal showcases the life of a typical suburban family, except with the mother coping with mental illness. This illness truly impacts her daughter, Natalie, and her husband, Dan. The mother, Diana, still believes that her dead son is alive, and has become lost without him. Senior Carina Kanzler, who plays the role of Diana, commits to her character and wants audience members to understand her pain.

“With the limited runs we have, I want to make every run better and more connected to the character and the story, but I find myself completely drained by the time each run is over if I truly put myself into that headspace,” said Kanzler. “So sometimes you have to concede that you’re not in the right place to completely envelop yourself in all the trauma of the show.”

Photo by Eileen King
Seniors Carina Kanzler (left) and Danielle Fite (right) act out an emotional scene.
Oct. 16, 2017

The Children’s Hour, a play by Lillian Hellman, follows the lives of middle school girls living in an upstart boarding school run by two headmistresses. One young girl, Mary Tilford, creates mischief when she accuses her teachers, Karen and Martha, of a romantic relationship with one another. This relationship was unacceptable at the time, and the accusation proceeds to destroy the women’s careers, relationships, and lives.

This show has always interested director John Forsythe, but he wanted to wait for the right timing.

“I wanted to do this show for years,” said Forsythe. “I think it’s a very powerful show. And despite the fact that it was written eighty years ago now, it’s still very relevant today.”

Photo by CeCe Lampa
Junior Helena Koczur and Sophomores Julia Stone and Emily Walker gossip at the boarding school. Oct. 16, 2017

The theme for drama this year is perspective, and this festival definitely makes cast members see from a different point of view. Senior Madds Buckley has begun to see things differently through the eyes of her role and has found deeper meaning in her acting.

“We strive for honesty above all, and that can mean you feel some real pain up there onstage,” said Buckley. “We ask each other what works best, what helps them get into that state of mind, so we can all give an accurate portrayal. But above all that we make sure that we don’t stay in that sinkhole forever.”

Photo by CeCe Lampa
(from left) Senior Mads Buckley, Elliott DeGrace, and Junior Ellie Ryan go through the first scene of The Children’s Hour. Oct. 16, 2017

The Children’s Hour performances will take place on Thurs. Oct. 26 and Sat. Oct. 28, and the Next to Normal performances will premiere on Fri Oct. 27 and Sun. Oct. 29. With the different shows on alternate days, the two casts will share the same set, transforming it each night to fit the setting of the different shows. With the shows right around the corner, exciting members of both casts.

Both shows contain a lot of emotional depth, and difficult subjects to talk about, something that Forsythe hopes will translate to members of the audience.

“They can look forward to a rollercoaster,” said Forsythe. “It’s a play that hopefully they will feel an attachment to the people in it, recognize some truths in their own lives, and come away with a better understanding of how they should approach others.”