Malden High School's Play Production team not only performed their last show of the year, but the seniors also performed the last show of their high school year; saying goodbye to the friends that they have made memories with, and the auditorium where they have grown as actors and actresses over the years.
Their most recent production, Just A Bunch Of Stuff, consisted of five shows created by the students themselves, “The Red Coat” by Jonathan Patrick Shanley, and “The Dinosaurs have a Request” by Walt McGough. The process of putting the shows together began in early April, and the cast performed Just A Bunch Of Stuff for the Malden Community at MHS on both May 16th and May 19th.
At the end of his ninth year as the director of Play Production, Sean Walsh, also the English Language Arts Teacher Leader at MHS, explained that, “Playwriting is tricky.” The five student written pieces were workshopped with the cast and with the directors.” Walsh also explained that this is not the first time that MHS Play Production has performed student written plays, and that they have a “rich history of producing student work.”
Walsh says that he was mostly hands off while the students put their shows together, and the “students did most of the work themselves— particularly on the technical side.” Since the students have been working on many shows and have been constantly learning from the experience, Walsh feels that by the end of the year, the “students should be running everything,” while he still made sure “the elements were in place.”
Junior Joylyn Norris feels that the experience of creating the five student-written shows “highlights [their] strengths, and [improves their] weaknesses as [they] help each other grow in all aspects of theatre.” Sophomore Aigula Fitzgerald felt that the process of creating a show “was tough at times. since it’s easy to get distracted, but [she and her partner] worked really well together.”
The shows written by the students provided a variety of genres, and also included a piece performed and written in Spanish. This portion of Just A Bunch Of Stuff was called “Este Adiós No Es Para Siempre” (“This Goodbye is Not Forever” in English) and was performed and written by Kamila Regalado, Brian Angulo and Richard Melgar. Junior Brian Angulo explained that the experience of writing and performing this show with his classmates was, “a great experience because every individual is creative and has their own unique ideas.” When asked about the play being in another language, Angulo expressed that performing as this specific character was, “not out of [his] comfort zone because [he takes] a Spanish class, and [they have] done a lot of presentations in that class so [he] was used to it.”
Senior Dominic Pappagallo stated that “It didn't really hit [him] or anyone else really until [their] ‘final bow’ at curtain call. It was an indescribable feeling.” Pappagallo took on the role of Shrek in Shrek The Musical earlier this year.
Senior Michelle Foley also said her farewell at the last show, and expressed that “[she] felt more honored than sad that [she is] leaving. [She thinks] it was an honor to be in a class with so many amazing actors and actresses, and to have [her] final show be with them is the biggest honor.” Foley co-wrote the show with Senior Kasya Jensen, and both of them performed it along with Alana Burdine. Foley and Burdine played two best friends, Rachel and Vicky, who conflicted over Vicky joining the Marines. Jensen, who played both Foley’s younger sister and Burdine’s older cousin, explained that, “it was easier to understand both of [her] characters motives, but the challenge was playing a child. The show was also Jensen’s last show, and she stated that “[she will] miss everyone in the class they really made [her] high school years complete.”
MHS Play Production may be saying goodbye to their senior actors and actresses, but Walsh believes that “they have brought lots of energy to the program and to the productions,” and he wishes them “nothing but the best in their future endeavors.” Angulo, who will be in the same place as the Seniors next year, says that he wants to “make them proud when they come back to watch [their] shows.” Just A Bunch Of Stuff ended the year for Play Production at MHS, and the up and coming sophomores, juniors, and seniors will continue the legacy that this year’s seniors have passed on to them.
Watch the video here.