Many hands contributing to play prep


Tyler McNulty

(left to right) Sophomore Carolyn Zeis sits in front of a prop fireplace during a play practice Wednesday in the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center’s blackbox theater. Sophomore Patrick Cadden, freshman Emma Adams and sophomore Sam Miller practice a scene from this year’s play “Fortinbras.”

Breanna Berkebile, Features Editor

As the days get closer to April, students and faculty are working hard on “Fortinbras,” this year’s play.

Junior Thomas Messer said costumes for the play are being made instead of bought or rented. There are about 41 costumes.

“This is the first show we’re making everything for,” said Messer.

He said the costumes required for the play are old-fashioned, and Pitt-Johnstown didn’t have those kinds of costumes available.

It is also cheaper to make the costumes from scratch, rather than renting, according to Messer.

Messer said he, alongside a few helpers, picked out fabrics, measured everyone from head size to inseams and got to work.

“It turns into a sweatshop…I personally work six hours a week, at the minimum.”

Sophomore Sam Miller, who is to play the role of Laertes, said that a play is a team effort.

According to Miller, putting together a play is a long, but fun, process.

“When (play members) first start to get together, we do a read-through…that’s the base of it.

“Then there’s character work and incorporating setting and fight scenes.”

Theater professor John Teacher said members meet from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for practice. He said Saturdays and Sundays are used to work on props and the set.

Teacher said, since the play got a later start, he wanted something that would help members.

“(Members) needed something to help lift their spirits, and I think this play is doing it.”

“Fortinbras” takes essential characters from  Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and puts them in another scenario, according to Teacher.

He said the play is referential to Hamlet and has comedic aspects.

“It’s been a great deal of enjoyment for everyone to work on,” said Teacher.

Sophomore Jessica Numer, who is the play’s stage manager, said she is there for every play practice.

“(Stage manager and assistant stage manager) attend every rehearsal to make sure we know when props go on and with whom, when lighting and sound cues are, when scenes change, and we keep the actors on track with lines.

“The rest of our tech crew has yet to come to rehearsals. They come the week before the show (tech week), and that’s when we work out all of the logistics of moving props and scenery.”

Teacher said he wants people to know how much work goes into putting on a play.

“People don’t always realize how many people there are who work (on plays).”

There are about 35 workers, plus the cast of about 15.

Students and faculty began practicing around Feb. 9, according to Teacher, and they are to continue practicing up until the play that is to take place April 5-8 in the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.