Wakefield’s JV theatre will be seen


Photo Courtesy of David Watts

The actors get in character and ready for the play.

Theatre creates an opportunity for a creative expression of emotions as well as entertaining an audience.  Wakefield High School’s junior varsity theatre has taken on the task of performing the murder mystery, Remains to be Seen.  The theatre takes the audience on an interactive journey through the investigation of the murder of a journalist.  

Theatre teacher Paul Orsett decided to have his cast perform Remains to be Seen because it offers a new approach to murder mysteries.  

“The gentleman who writes the plays is a colleague of mine and he started writing murder mysteries because he hated what was out there.  So, he wanted to introduce actors to a more intimate environment.  Instead of [the play] being an interactive party where people are just reading, he wanted the actors to get into it and see that the audience has invested interest in what is happening,” said Orsett.  “It gives my actors the opportunity to be put into a different position as an actor where the audience is right there.  The audience will sit on stage where they are acting, so it is very intimate and in order to be successful you have to really know your character.”

With the new approach to murder mysteries and a more intimate setting, some of the performers agree that the play in unique.  Although Wakefield’s theatre has performed many different shows, each has been different from the others and is unique in its own way.  Sophomore Rhodelle Beatrice, who plays Officer Badam, explains the uniqueness of the performance.  

“[Remains to be Seen] has an array of characters who are really complex,” said Beatrice.  “Also, [the performance] is a more intimate show because it is not as big of a show as Peter Pan, which we did earlier in the fall.  This allows for [the actors] to explore the characters more and play around with what they have to express.”

Sophomore Lauren Shifflett, who plays the role of Agent Sullen, tells about the different twist to the performance that does not usually happen in performances.

“In [Remains to be Seen], we interact a lot more with the audience than we usually do,” said Shifflett.  “We have audience members onstage with us and we even built a set piece so that they can sit on stage [with the performers.]  There’s a moment in the show when we ask [the audience members] questions to bring them into the show, so the audience has a chance to ask the murder suspects questions to try and discover who they think the murderer is.”

Creating a unique production comes with challenging obstacles and pressure to perform the perfect play.  

“We didn’t rehearse with any sets or props until after spring break and we had to relocate to different places at different times.” said Orsett.  When I talk to the actors, it’s not about rehearsing in this space, it’s about really understanding what your character wants.  Once we got done building the stuff over spring break, the transition was a little bit more difficult than I thought it would be but, they got through it.”

 Sophomore Cameron Ransome, who plays Buela, the person who finds the body, describes one challenge that the actors face during rehearsals.  

“We rehearsed [the play] so many times that it can get slow,” said Ransome.  “So we have to try to make it different each rehearsal.”

Despite these difficulties, the performers continue to work towards making the play perfect, which has taken a while for this production.

“We have rehearsals two or three times a week,” said Shifflett. “We worked really hard on this performance, we either have rehearsals from 3:30-5:30 or 6-8:30.”

Although there are difficult obstacles and many rehearsals, the actors still love performing.  They love the satisfaction of knowing that they brought a story to life and entertained the audience.

“I think the most rewarding part [of performing] is getting out on stage and knowing that you’re able to bring a character to life that didn’t have a story before,” said Beatrice.  

The actors have a lot to be proud after bringing an entire story to life and entertaining the audiences with their production.  

“I’m really proud of the new people that have never been in a show before,” said Shifflett.    “This is their first show and they’re doing great.  Since this is a JV show I think people’s expectations are a lot lower than they should be and that it’s going to be not as good [as the varsity show].  I  think that it’s really good and it’s a lot better than others will expect.”

“I think everyone does a really good job understanding the script,” said Ransome.  “The script has a lot of meaning behind it that’s hard to pick up on unless you really dig into it.”   

The actors have a lot to be proud of, and with their hard work and dedication, they met their director’s expectations.

“I’m proud of the work ethic of the actors,” said Orsett.  “They have really worked hard and they work well together. Rehearsals have been fun, they haven’t been taxing, and I have high standards as always, but it’s been a fun process to see them mature and get better from where they started.”

Some actors will agree that the greatest part of a performance is watching all the work finally come together and seeing the audience’s reactions to their hard work.  For others, it is about being able to perform their art for their families and the people who are important to them.  

“I’m looking forward to seeing the audience’s reactions to see if they liked what we’ve been doing, what we’ve been working so hard for,” said Beatrice. “I’m looking forward to seeing my parents reactions because theatre is a really big part of my life and it is what has helped me become who I am.”