Palatine High School's student news site.


Palatine High School's student news site.


Palatine High School's student news site.


What to expect in a high school theatre production

Fiona Storey
Freshman Fiona Storey curls her hair as she prepares to perform in the ensemble of Palatine High School’s musical, Grease.

Many know that productions can take months, especially in high school productions. For me personally, about 640+ hours had to be put in toward my high school production “Grease.” It sounds like a lot, and before I had realized what I had gotten myself into, I constantly wondered about how long this entire process would take. I wondered about the process, but also about who I would meet along the way. How would people treat me? So, to accommodate commonly asked questions and thoughts, I’ve decided to write this in order for you to understand both the costs and benefits of doing a high school theater production.

To give some background information, I’ve been in dozens of theater productions throughout elementary and middle school. From being in the ensemble in “Annie,” to stage crew in “Shrek,” let’s just say I have some type of experience. However, as an incoming freshman I had no idea what to expect. With no older siblings or friends to ask, all I knew was that there were more complex costumes, a bigger audience and a bigger stage. Despite the nervousness that came along with auditions all the way to the last performance, I learned a lot!

In total, approximately 640+ hours were spent rehearsing both vocally and dancing. This can seem overwhelming at first, but in reality we practiced for about three to four hours a day. This does not include dates closer to the shows, such as tech week. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase “tech week,” it is described as the “week leading up to the opening night performance.”

Typically, rehearsals are longer, and here at PHS tech week rehearsals went until about 9 a.m to 9:30 p.m. But don’t worry, most nights some sort of snacks or water were provided. In fact, PPMC (Palatine Parents Music Club) hosted dinners for all the cast as well as stage crew, costume crew and tech crew. These dinners were quite delicious; from pizza to home cooked meals, dinner was always something to forward to, especially the desserts provided (fruit, brownies, candies, cookies…). They even had gluten free options!

Fiona along with other members of the musical sing alongside music teacher Mr. Koehlinger at the annual musical preview for English classes. (Alfred Valdez)

Next, the environment is inclusive and kind. After we all warmed up to each other, almost everyone had one or more friends who they easily get along with. I still remember the first rehearsal we ever had. We all got chairs, sat in a circle, and we went around the circle telling everyone our name, and a couple fun facts about us. To me, this was pretty nerve-racking, especially because I would have to talk in front of dozens of people I have never met before. However, everyone was kind; if you stuttered or lost your thought, simply because of nervousness, nobody laughed at you or gave you any kind of weird look.

After this “introducing”, I noticed something I have never seen in the previous times I’ve played this game. After we finished, the people who were interested in what someone had said, went up to the specific person who said it, and began to talk to them. Whether they mentioned fun facts about their pets, where they’ve traveled in the world, or their favorite food, everyone managed to start some kind of fun conversation amongst one another. That moment helped me to realize what kind of people I would have the honor of working with.

The laughter throughout the production I heard was something real and genuine, only something a true bond could produce. As rehearsals went on, and we began working on dances, older students helped younger ones to perfect the choreography. We took breaks in between learning our dances and as a freshman, I could always count on the older students to answer my questions regarding the choreography. If we were drinking our water or getting a little snack, there was always a small group to the side that would slowly go through the dance, making sure everyone knew every last bit of it.

In rehearsals we focused solely on songs. I have never done choir so when I had to start learning some of the vocals, I had to figure out what my vocal part was. Some specific vocal parts are: soprano and alto (mainly for feminine voices), and tenor and bass (mainly for masculine voices).  In order to specify what part I was, I had to meet with the vocal teacher, Mrs. Tallman. She gathered us around a piano, and those who didn’t know their vocal parts went last in singing a couple notes. She played both low, as well as high notes, in order to see where we could sing our strongest.

As an important takeaway, people who want to pursue theater need to be aware that things will have to be put aside. Mentioned before, there’s only 24 hours in a day, so sadly you won’t be able to do everything you want to. Because of this, you’ll have to be prepared to choose whether or not you will truly dedicate your willingness and hours toward a production. Being apart of a high school production comes with a lot of hard work, but along with that comes unforgettable memories, lessons and friendships that will last a lifetime.

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About the Contributor
Fiona Storey, Reporter
Fiona Storey is a very creative and intelligent freshman here at PHS. She plays for PHS tennis, enjoys playing the piano, and seeks to pursue a career in Aviation. In her free time, the enjoys going on walks, drawing, fashion, playing video games, and writing (of course).

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