February 25, 2016

Behind the Scenes of “Into the Woods”

Emily Saperstein ‘18

Over the weekend just before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, GOA put on its high school musical, “Into the Woods.” This musical reinterprets classic fairy tales, such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, in twisted ways, some of which are very different in comparison with their original plots.
The first half of the show presents the individual stories of each character or group of characters. The stories are linked by the journey of the Baker and his Wife, searching for four objects: Cinderella’s shoe, Little Red Ridinghood’s cape, Rapunzel’s hair and Jack’s cow, all of which come together to help the duo break a spell laid on their house by a witch. The second act, however, takes a strikingly different turn, bringing all of the characters together to solve a major mutual problem. This section of the show is especially interesting because it reveals the somewhat unexpected complexity of each of the characters as they grapple with this issue.
“I don’t really like the overall plot of the show so much, but I do enjoy seeing the complexity of these famous fairytale characters unfold as the story develops,” said sophomore Lizzie Irwin, a cast member of the show. “It’s really cool to see these once-regarded two-dimensional characters of our childhood stories go through the same thought processes and experience the same emotions as any other human does.
“It makes the story much more relatable and something that we can each easily learn from.”
In addition to the performers and directors, the costume crew worked very hard to make beautiful clothing for the actors to wear. Creating costumes for a show with so many characters in this specific setting and time period can be very difficult, so this year the GOA arts department decided to hire a professional costume designer, Ms. Lauren McLoughlin.
McLoughlin’s presence helped create a different and exciting experience for both the cast and crew. Sophomore Carly Mast, a veteran member of GOA’s costume crew, enjoyed working with McLoughlin and was thrilled to see these professional, beautiful costumes slowly come to life.
“Working with a professional is really fun,” she said. “When we worked with Ms. Cohen last year for ‘Legally Blonde,’ we simply brainstormed ideas for the costumes and then headed to Amazon to buy the different pieces one by one. This year, we are actually seeing the costumes come to life starting right from the measurements thanks to Ms. McLoughlin’s great work.”
Creating the set for this show was also a very unique experience compared to previous years.
“This show in particular is sort of difficult and sort of simple because most of it takes place in the woods,” said sophomore Maya Freedman, who also worked on creating the set for “Legally Blonde” last year. “That means there won't be so many moving pieces on and off the stage which is helpful, but it's also pretty hard to actually create the woods and figure out what will work best for each specific scene.”
One of the most difficult jobs for the crew is managing props, especially in a show that requires a large amount. Junior Emma Weiss, the props master for “Into the Woods,” had a challenging, but enjoyable, experience working with the many props that are needed for the show.
“We have about 50 props in the show,” she said. “It's really complicated trying to keep track of where they all are all the time, who’s holding them and when they need to be moved, but at the same time it makes my job more interesting and keeps me on my toes. Having more props also means that I get to interact with the cast and other crew members more often which also makes work even more fun.”
Like Weiss, many students regard the connections that they make with their fellow cast and crew members while being a part of school shows are the best parts of the experience and the main reason why many continue being involved year after year.

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