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Drama department takes on bullying with ‘Mean Girls,’ and ‘Footloose’

By Thuong Pham

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The school’s drama students perform many plays and musicals year after year with rave reviews.This spring the drama department will produce a remake of the original teen film, “Footloose.”

The musical is about a Chicago boy who moves to a small town in Oklahoma and discovers that dancing and rock music are illegal. As he  struggles to fit in, he also faces challenges to change the norms.

“Our whole theme for this year is anti-bullying and the different ways of fitting into the society,” says Megan McKinley, the drama teacher and director of the musical. Each of the musicals and plays this year have different social settings and shows the protagonist trying their best to get along with the community. Each person in the play has a slightly different personality and in the end, they “somehow come together as one.”

During the first two weeks of November, Alameda High also presented the play “Mean Girls.” Auditions for the spring play were a mere week after the close of the fall play–a quick turn-around time for McKinley and the drama students.  “It is very tiring to go from one play to another,” McKinley said.

Freshman Annika Stenstedt plays the role of Rusty, the main female character’s lovesick best friend. Stenstedt described a daunting process of being part of the production. “Coming in as a freshman, I knew it would be tough to get a large role,” Stendtedt said.   After being cast, “people began to expect a lot out of me, and I worried that I would let them down,” she said. “I nearly tore myself apart thinking of the different ways the cast list could turn out, and how getting my dream role relied on a lot more than how I did.”

“The script for the musical has a lot of fun lines and ideas which I think this cast will really bring alive,” Stenstedt said. “There are a lot of jokes and all the elements for a good story.”

The cast just had their first rehearsal recently, when they had a read-through of the script while laughing at all the “stupid and pretty good” jokes.

Stenstedt said it is a great show that is sure to please. “If I were not in the show, I would still definitely go see this show. From past experience, I know how good these shows turn out, and especially since I’m a freshman this year, I would probably know people in the cast that would give me even more reasons to see the show.”

Because of the size of the cast, she says she would not be surprised if everyone knew at least one person in the musical.

This musical is mainly projected towards big crowds and for anyone who is used to a fun and entertaining atmosphere. “It is a good musical that a lot of people would, and should come to,” Stenstedt said.

According to McKinley, there were some people who were in the last play who also auditioned for the next one immediately “and it is very difficult for the student to switch roles quickly.” Yet still, the cast is working hard to rehearse four days a week from Monday through Thursday for two to three hours a day. As s the week of the performance grows closer, the rehearsals will run from after school until 10 p.m. The performance dates are set for the first two weeks of March.

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The Oak Leaf, a product of the journalism class, is a vehicle of student expression and a public forum for the Alameda High School community.