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Actors reflect on spring ‘Footloose’ production

By Thuong Pham and Magdalena Rattunde

Kofman Auditorium was packed on the evening of March 4, opening night of the drama department’s spring musical “Footloose.”  In the play, based on the 1984 movie, the main character Ren McCormack (played by senior Sayed Aadel) recently moved from Chicago and is new to a small midwestern town where dance and rock music are illegal. Together with the rebellious Ariel Moore (played by junior Mariana Scott), Ren struggles to change the rules int the conservative town.

Aadel said he was anxious during auditions for the play. “I was super excited. They didn’t announce it [lead role in the play] until the end of the day, so I was really scared. It was awesome,”Aadel said.

Aadel said he liked his character because Ren is different from himself. “He really does stuff about stuff. If there was a problem around, I wouldn’t do anything about it but complain. It’s really is hard to stay witty and upbeat the whole time,” Aadel said.

The school’s spring musicals are noted for being major productions. Learning the choreography for the musical took three months. “It [choreography and practice] wasn’t hard, it was fun. It just took a lot of time because there were a bunch of dance numbers,” Aadel said.

The hardest part of the play for Aadel was trying to act like he was in love. “She [Scott] made it easier because it wasn’t her first ‘rodeo’, but this is mine. So she helped me out a lot,” he said. However, his favorite part of the musical was the kiss scene. “I really liked the kiss scene. I liked it because the two main characters have been really flirty the whole time, touching chins and stuff, but them sitting on the train railing and opening up to each other, it was really cool.”

“I really liked the final night because the overall energy was so high and there were a lot of people there,” Aadel said.

According to Aadel, the tech crew worked the hardest in the musical. “The sets were huge, like the stairs. We’re in high school, how did they do that,” he said.

Before opening to the general public, the cast performed for middle schoolers in Alameda. According to Aadel, they were quite different from a high school audience. “The middle school audience is honestly kind of better because they laughed at the weirdest things. Like when my friend tripped, none of them laughed like normal audiences would.”

He noticed a difference as the adult audiences as well. “The kids laugh more at physical comedy, like falling and tripping, but the adults laugh at actual comedy, like what they hear instead of what they see.”

According to Aadel, the overall message of the play is, “Rules are not always set in stone. Times change, people change, and so should the rules.”

Freshman Annika Stenstedt played the role of Rusty, the lovesick best friend of Ariel. “I liked my character because she was super fun. I mean I can play dramatic roles, but it’s a lot more fun when you play fun or happy roles and you get to go crazy on stage.”

“I’ve been doing theater since I was in second grade after my sister introduced me to it so I’ve always dreamed of performing on high school shows,” Stenstedt said. Although she feels comfortable performing on stage, she was still anxious. “Up until the point I got my role, I was really nervous because it doesn’t happen very often that a freshman gets the lead role in high school and so I was really worried.”

Aadel said Stenstedt’s performance was a standout. “I think she’s so talented it’s crazy,” he said.

Like Aadel, Stenstedt also noticed differences among the audience. “There were some lines when they would laugh for three minutes straight and we were just standing there not doing anything, where as when high schoolers laugh at those things they wouldn’t laugh as long and as hard. A lot of high schoolers cheer for their friends on stage and screaming.”

According to Stenstedt, the message of the play is to understand that you’re not the only person in the universe and that the world doesn’t circle around you. “Things can change, things don’t ever stay the same,” she said.

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