This year, Malden High School Play Production has gone out of their comfort zone and presented a comedic and vibrant show, Shrek the Musical, to the community as one of their yearly plays. The play was enjoyed on the nights of Dec. 4th, 5th, and 6th by the Malden community.
Shrek the Musical tells the story of an ogre, Shrek, (senior Dominic Pappagallo), who sets out on a quest to save Princess Fiona, (junior Sarah Bendell), in order to reclaim his swamp from the short tempered and just plainly short Lord Farquaad, (senior Sebastian Patino). On his journey, Shrek is accompanied by a humorous talking donkey, (senior Elijah Jean-Baptiste), and encounters all types of fairytale creatures, including the big bad wolf, played by MHS math teacher Evan Mauser, the three blind mice, a fairy god mother, the gingerbread man, and many more.
The seemingly heartless ogre is transformed after rescuing and spending time with the beautiful Princess Fiona on their way back to Duloc. However, the princess must hide her curse of turning into an ogre after sundown from the world. By true love’s kiss, Fiona will be freed from her curse. She believes Lord Farquaad will relieve her, but the story takes an interesting twist when feelings develop between Fiona and Shrek.
The award winning troupe opted for a more lighthearted, spirited show but in turn had to overcome challenges with technology, set designing, and costumes. The cast and crew agreed that this show was definitely one of the more tech-heavy, and required many costumes and sets.
Senior sound technician, Corey McFeeley, has “been doing sound for all three years of Play Production and the thing about sound is that [it is] like learning a second language,” McFeeley explained. “I was self taught at the board. I did not take any [sound designing classes or sound execution classes] prior to Play Production. I sat at the board and [asked myself], ‘what does this button do?’” McFeeley also added that this is “just one aspect,” and that “making friends and meeting new people is just another rewarding experience.”
The last week of rehearsal, also known as “hell week”, as senior light operator Ashley Yung stated, “[the group stays at the high school] until nine or ten just perfecting the show. Seeing all of the dedication and work come together was really wonderful.” Ultimately, the hard work put in to the show was worth it when they see it all come together.
On casting roles, junior Bailey Reed, who plays the captain of the guards and a Duloc dancer, stated, “it does not really matter what role [anyone gets]. As long as [the person is] a part of it, [it is] just like the best feeling.” Though people may sometimes not get the roles they expected, they always end up enjoying and fitting into the character that they presume. Senior Patino, who plays Lord Farquaad, stated that he wanted “to be cast as Shrek in the beginning, but after a while, [he] realized that, personality wise, Lord Farquaad [fit him] so well. [He is] Farquaad.”
Though the play ran smoothly all three nights, that does not mean that the crew did not face any challenges. As Play Production director and Lead English teacher at MHS Sean Walsh expressed, “one thing [that is] tricky about this play is that it has a bunch of moving pieces.” He also added that they “have never really done a children’s theatre before so [he] wanted to do something that could appeal to all ages, and [he] always [tries] to mix up doing different kinds of shows.”
For junior Sarah Bendell, who plays the lead as Fiona, “Shrek has always been one of [her] favorite movies growing up and [she] had always loved the musical as well.” She also confessed that Fiona had always been one of her dream parts, making her excited because she “saw so much of [herself] in her.” Benell also remarked that “during practice, [she] loved to discover more and more about Fiona and really get to create her world and make it a world [they] could share.
Participating in Shrek the Musical proved to the Play Production cast and crew that it not only about hard work, but also an enjoyable experience, with bonds and memories that will not soon fade away. It is evident that the cast and crew, both in and out of character, had a chance to find themselves and accept the people that they are.