Clue: On Stage – The Who Got It Done Production

Staff Editor: Logan Haines

Clue? A deceptively funny play about tragedy, death, and surprising twists of fate. Six contestants are invited to a cryptic dinner party by some mysterious patron, all seemingly different in every way and none the wiser of who each one is. All with their own sins and secrets. Except they all have one thing in common. Their gracious host for the evening is also their lifelong blackmailer.

In a stark change of events what was supposed to be a nonchalant, maybe awkward, dinner has now turned into a rambunctious game of who will be left alive at the end, and who will be locked away forever. Relationships will be tested, fingers pointed, accusations cracking like a whip and as wildly as a lion’s tail. No one is safe, at least not until everyone else is dead…

Under the direction and encouragement of Drama Teacher Lauren Dunajek, the advanced drama class of Woodstock High School went full force for the better half of last year preparing for their production of Clue: On Stage, which took place on Jan 31 and Feb 1. What’s different about this show than previous shows performed by the theatrical program was that a majority of roles were only open to members currently enrolled in the class. This limited the pool of candidates for filling crucial parts and presented the ugly proposition of assigning everyone a part in the show. Luckily, this wasn’t Dunajek’s first go about troubleshooting a multitude of problems that show themselves throughout the process of production.

dinner scene

What is known as the Sinister Seven sit around the Boddy Manor dining table enjoying bowls of hot soup. Photo Credit Logan Haines.

Casting is usually one of the harder decisions to be made prior to any show, however Clue was the easiest by far to cast. In her words, “You have to have the perfect advanced drama class to pull this off,” and as evidence dictates they had just that.

Woodstock Drama’s Clue: On Stage has also been the most promoted and advertised play in school history with teaser posters dating as far back as late November, for a show that opens the tail end of January. The crowd expected to be drawn from every portion of pre-production hype is big. It also helped that the students involved were overly excited to talk at no end about the show with any poor soul who happened to stop long enough and give the time of day. Cast and Crew alike easily fit naturally into their respective parts and Sophia Loconto, an assistant stage manager for Clue, appeared to speak for everyone with, “I really love the show itself, it’s incredibly funny, and I believe it fits our drama program so incredibly well.”

Even with all the early merry cheer and admiration it was not without its hardships. Although it consisted mostly of students who have been training for the past some odd years in the fundamentals of theatrical performance and acting specifically it was some participants first time on a legitimate stage. Michael Bailey, who played Mr. Boddy and has a few community plays under his belt, confessed, “Remembering lines has been the toughest thing for me.”

motorist scene

Mustard and Scarlet scream in terror as they discover the deceased figure of the motorist. Photo Credit Logan Haines.

The crew involved in Clue may have arguably had the tougher time during rehearsals. Whereas the cast got nearly five months to learn their lines, crew was given two weeks to perfect their jobs. Kaley Terlep, Sound Manager, relieved, “Hardest thing for this show is that most of it was done in class, so when I joined most of the them were seven something months in and I was one day in.” Loconto echoing, “Toughest part is not being in the advanced drama class, being chucked in last minute, and having to play catch-up.”

Last minute bringing in 20 new members to rehearsals and the new idea of having a limited boundary to adhere to could have presented troubles and did a few times. Blocking is going to almost change every time and that will in turn sometimes alter the layout of set pieces and when certain props are carried on stage. Changing the positioning of actors most definitely redirects the framing of stage lights, and for most productions lights or stage pieces can be added the evening of opening night, which is never stressful at all, no sir. The divide between actors and techies (the coined term for technical crew members) has been a part of live theater life for as long as live theater has existed and will undoubtedly never cease to be unset tradition, however with the show being “so tech heavy” director Dunajek found it difficult. “Figuring out all the entrances and exits without [their] set being on stage.”

Through all that has been said and done, through thick and thin the one thing this drama program really excels at is staying true to who they are as a family. You will probably never meet a more closely knitted group of people in the entire school, and a few outliers here and there will express their differences, but it’s the fact that in the end everyone has each others back that truly makes the shows special to witness. “We have a really great cast that has lots of chemistry. I think having everyone so close together,  knowing each other’s energy and bouncing off one another so effectively makes a lot of moments in the show really work,” is one heartfelt exclamation from director Dunajek.

stand off scene

The twist of fate as Wadsworth reveals himself to be the true Mr. Boddy, and Mr. Green doffs his mask and reveals himself as Larry Goodman an FBI agent as a stand-off begins. Photo Credit Logan Haines.

Watching every single member of the show bustle about at rehearsals should shine a whole new light on just how much effort these incredible people are showing to make the show something memorable. They have been pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into this program, and for some seniors, this will be their last performance as a part of Woodstock High School, and it shows. Clue is standing out to be one of the greatest plays put on by this generation of young theatrical performers. From costumes and character reactions, to the most minuscule detail on stage and a simple colored light, every last little thing has been perfected as much as humanly possible. There isn’t an ounce of talent this family left out of this show, but don’t take my word for it, hear it straight from the mouth of the stars themselves, they all agree. “10/10 I’ve loved it, this is one of my favorite shows we’ve done,” says Riley Briggs, who plays Mrs. Peacock, “hanging out with everyone makes the long hours worth it.” They are some long hours indeed, in the span of what is commonly referred to as “Hell weeks” the cast and crew can stay as late as 8-10 a night. Even through the tough times they can’t help but enjoy themselves as Chandler Champion, who plays Wadsworth, mentions, “Everyone putting in all the hard work has got to be my favorite part. I love when people have fun with it too, it makes everything so enjoyable.” Bailey agreeing, “It’s been fun, there were some hectic moments, but always fun.”

 

The energy swing from the previous show to this one as noted by Terlep, “We did a really sad show last semester… so I’m excited to see people laugh. It’s one of my favorite shows we’ve done,” really brought out something special as this new fresh comedy left some viewers sore and others talking for hours on end. Endless little stunts and gags, witty banter and perfectly placed expressions created a breathtaking atmosphere of what it undoubtedly means to be a drama program. Clue: On Stage was a masterpiece is not likely to be forgotten soon.

 

[BLOOPERS: For the lovely cast and crew, my dear friends, and all the hard work they put into this performance.]

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