April 4, 2022

Growth Through the Process

Edwin Drood

Solving a mystery—or a math equation, or a political dilemma, or a programming glitch—requires careful observation and application of critical thinking. This year’s spring musical provided audiences an opportunity to use those skills during eight performances of The Mystery of Edwin Drood as the attendees were tasked with choosing the ending of Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel.

Unraveling the mystery of Edwin Drood was a process, just as constructing the various aspects of the performance was a process. With the specter of COVID haunting the production, Director Corbett (Riebock ’94) Burick made the bold decision to double cast the ten lead roles. Those ten performers appeared in every show, either in a lead role or as an alternate member of the cast, and each prepared for the dual parts in a myriad of ways.

In his role as Chairman William Cartwright, Kaleb Cruz ’22 adopted his character’s mindset by heeding instruction from the directors while memorizing lines and attitudes. Senior Will Black’s process began with a willingness to ask questions, along with consistent repetition of saying lines aloud to ensure memorization. Parker Storm ’22 added voice memos of others’ lines to her practice routine in addition to reading through scenes with a friend.

To master blocking, Andie Orphan ’24 recorded a video of herself performing the scenes so she could picture the movements. In the role of Edwin Drood, Teagan Allison ’23 adopted Drood’s mindset by picturing the way her character felt, scene by scene, as she memorized her lines.

Behind the scenes, crew members were equally focused on process. After reviewing the script and observing on-stage rehearsals, Stage Manager Lauren Spitler ’12 shared detailed notes with her crew leaders Lily Hill ’22 and Isabel Kelsh ’22 who then supervised the stage crew during the complex transitions as they set up for each scene.

Technique and methodology are necessary for every musical production to create an effective and entertaining performance, but the participants agree that equally important is the way in which they learn and grow through the process.

For the Academy’s theater program, sharing a quality theatrical production with audiences is an admirable result, but the highest value is the process of nurturing growth in students—growth in relationships, in excellence, in service—all to the glory of God.