By Aleeza Zinn
Due to unforeseen events, drama teacher Megan Beaudreau, formerly known by her maiden name of Megan McKinley, will not be returning for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year. Beaudreau is away on medical leave, according to principal Robert Ithurburn.
Due to Beaudreau’s absence, the annual musical production has been postponed until the weekends of April 14 and 20, a student-written play has been canceled, and the drama classes have had a series of substitutes.
“It’s been a long run,” said Emma Pixton, senior and student of Beaudreau. “I have three classes with Mrs. [Beaudreau], and it’s been a lot of subs and I think a lot of just not working. A lot of students just kind of leave, so it’s been rough. And then a lot of people have dropped out of the show, so it’s created a lot of difficulties there.”
Pixton is in Beaudreau’s theater tech, drama 2/3, and musical theater classes. “Musical theater is a little better run,” explained Pixton. “The musical director for the show has been able to come in every class, so we are actually learning in that one, but theater tech is going about the same as drama 2/3.”
Beaudreau’s classes have had three substitute teachers since January. These teachers have been in charge of the previously mentioned drama 2/3 and theater tech classes, as well as Beaudreau’s musical theater and English classes. The current, third substitute teacher is “a long-term substitute,” said Ithurburn. Ithurburn hopes this will be the final substitute for the year.
In class, the students struggle with staying on task. “With no [consistent] teacher, it’s been tough to keep people enthused and performing and doing what we are supposed to be doing,” said Lukas Pecson, senior and drama 3 student.
“I feel like I want to blame [Beaudreau],” said Alanna Norman, senior and drama 2/3 student, “but they’re injuries and illnesses so she can’t help it. I think it’s just sad because I feel like it’s making the drama department look worse. Nobody’s helping us, they’re just kind of letting us sit in class and do nothing, so it’s kind of sad,”
Despite Beaudreau’s absence in class, the musical preparation is now underway.
“The musical has been going through a series of unfortunate events this year,” said Pecson. “We had to find someone else to direct the show, as at that point we had almost nothing accomplished. Everyone felt defeated and it seemed like the show would not happen. That being said, the cast is very talented and I’m sure we will put on a good show, but everything that’s been happening has stressed the cast out greatly.”
This year’s musical is “Dogfight,” a show about the Marines based in San Francisco. The cast began rehearsals on March 8, for the first time since Beaudreau’s absence. The rehearsals were with the new acting advisor, Jennifer Stein, a friend of Beaudreau, “who does a lot of theater,” said Pixton.
The first rehearsal without Beaudreau “went pretty well,” explained Pixton. “[Jennifer Stein] is a little stricter, but I think it works out well considering the time frame we’re on.”
According to the play’s advertising poster, Ryan Justus is director and choreographer, Mark Dietrich is music director, Jennifer Stein is acting advisor, and Beaudreau is now producer.
While the musical is preparing for its April premiere, to compromise, the world language talent show and a student written show had to be canceled.
The world language talent show was scheduled for Feb. 2 in the Fred Chacon Little Theatre. Preparation for the musical was already underway in the little theatre, however, and part of the set for “Dogfight” was in process of being built on the stage. Therefore, the world language talent show was unable to use the little theatre’s stage for the performances, and was canceled.
In addition to the talent show, junior Eleanor Good’s original play, “Funland,” was also canceled.
Good, a drama 3 student, took inspiration from the film “Dazed and Confused” and stories she’s heard during her time working at the movie theater, to write “Funland.”
The original play “is about teenagers working at an amusement park,” explained Good. “We are no longer doing the play due to scheduling issues. I was initially very upset, but it has just been more motivating to write more plays. I am currently writing a screenplay.”
Good began directing her show, and shortly after that, Beaudreau left. Due to Beaudreau’s absence, she had to change the dates for “Funland.”
“We realized the only day we would’ve been able to do Funland would be in a month, and didn’t have the time to get it together,” said Pixton. With no one to supervise rehearsals in class and no time to have rehearsals outside of class, the show was canceled.
The drama class will, however, put on one more musical show–“Cabaret”–after the musical “Dogfight,” at the end of this school year.
Without Beaudreau, “the class started running the classes,” said Pecson. “We have taken it upon ourselves to make the Cabaret show happen this year, so we have picked and are practicing the class, as well as men and women’s numbers for the show. As bad as it is to be left alone, as felt as uncared for as we did, it has given us the chance to run the class as we want to.”
Despite setbacks, the drama class has been able to move forward and plan for the rest of the year, for the show must go on.
“There is a lot of petty drama in drama. Pretty ironic, I know,” said Good.
The Oak Leaf has contacted Beaudreau via email, but she has not responded to requests for a comment.