Wakefield students prepare to haunt in annual production


Staff Photo by Jami Ward

Members of Wakefield Theatre Company collaborate on the set of Haunted House. This year’s theme is a haunted circus called Cirque du Slay.

Jami Ward, Staff Writer

Every year, Paul Orsett, the supervisor of the theatre department, teams up with students in the International Thespian Society, ITS for short, to give a fright to Wakefield’s student body through the annual haunted house. This year Gus Korogi, a junior and president-elect of ITS, is tasked with designing the house and directing it. 

Preparation for the haunted house begins months before the spooky season. Even though students come up with ideas, Orsett still oversees the process.  

“We started preparing at the end of last year,” Orsett said. “They [ITS members] start putting ideas together and we’ve been doing little bits and pieces at a time.” 

In addition to the production of the haunted house, the theatre department is working on its adaptation of  “Sleeping Beauty.” This presents a challenge since many of the same pieces are used for both works. 

“The space that we’re using has gotten to where we only have a limited amount of time to do things,” Orsett said.“We also are working and coordinating several pieces for the haunted house that will also be used for other productions this year.”

Junior Spencer Nicholas has participated in the haunted house all three years he’s been at Wakefield. This year, he is the head of the set crew and sound crew. Nicholas is eager for the community to see the product of all the hard work that goes into the house. 

“We’re putting these big flats up that are huge,” Nicholas said. “They are massive and take four people to carry, and we’re doing that 20 times over. We’re setting up big stations with massive walls and painting [them], and we’re hanging tarps over things and hangings paintings on the walls.” 

Because of this, and in an effort to have as much help as possible, the set building for the haunted house this year will take place in one weekend, instead of over the usual course of weeks. Korogi acknowledges that the time crunch will be a challenge but is confident that the product will be successful. 

“A big thing is making sure that everyone you have working on the haunted house is making sure everyone can be there on that weekend,” Korogi said. “That’s crucial to whether or not it’s going to work out because if you don’t have enough people it doesn’t get finished, and if it doesn’t get finished you don’t have a finished house.” 

I think it’s going to be very interesting having a circus theme, I don’t think that’s something that has been done a lot of times, as far as haunted houses go.”

— Korogi

Although this will be a challenge for the group, with teamwork and efficiency everyone is positive that the job will get done. 

“Getting it done as efficiently as possible is a challenge, but it is a fun challenge,” Nicholas said.

Sophomore Jacob Eisenberg is participating in the haunted house for the first time this year. Eisenberg has been cast as a puppet in the house. 

“We have a pretty big cast, but this set will be complicated,” Eisenberg said. “We will split into different groups to get different parts of the set done, such as one group could be painting sets while another is setting up the supporting structures.”

The haunted house is also a great way to get involved in the theatre department. Many current students involved in the program used the haunted house as a way to get their foot in the door with the department since anyone is free to audition. 

“It’s one of the fun things I like because it usually gets some of the younger kids involved pretty quickly,” Orsett said. “Once they have that fun and good experience and meet some folks in the theatre department. If nothing else though they’ll do the haunted house every year. ”

Both Korogi and Nicholas agree that new and innovative ideas are what draw them in every year. 

 “This year we’re doing something completely different from any year we’ve done before,” Nicholas said. “Last year we did a haunted bookstore. So this year will be a really big surprise for anyone who hasn’t done it before.”

Every year students come up with a new unconventional haunted house. This year’s theme is Cirque Du Slay. 

Jake Eisenberg, Tenley Robinson and Savannah Johnson put supports up for the foundations of the haunted circus. The show opens on Wednesday. (Staff Photo by Jami Ward)

“I think it’s going to be very interesting having a circus theme, I don’t think that’s something that has been done a lot of times, as far as haunted houses go,” Korogi said. “I’m excited about the spectacle elements included, like lighting and sound. I think I’m going to be doing much more with that than haunted houses normally do.” 

Not only does the haunted house bring in new students, but it also draws in the community every year. 

“We open it to the community, we tamper it for different age levels,” Orsett said. “If I have parents that are coming with younger children and they want us to tamper it down just a little bit [we can].” 

The dates for this year will be during the week of October 24 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during all lunch periods. There will also be evening runs on Friday and Saturday nights. Admission is 5 dollars and will go towards the theatre department’s future productions. 

“It’s not that expensive to go and I think everyone should because it’s a nice experience,” Nicholas said.

The cast encourages all students to come check out the haunted house to appreciate the hard work and dedication of this talented group. 

“Our theatre program here is really excellent and there’s a lot of dedicated people,”  Korogi said. “I think you should go just to experience it because there’s a lot that you wouldn’t expect.