Behind The Closed Curtains

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The 2016 Fall Production of “12 Angry Jurors” is right around the corner, so The Clarion has decided to ask a few cast and crew members, along with the directors, how the show is coming along. The cast and crew have been actively working on this show for about 8 weeks now. With only one week until the show, the cast and crew are almost ready to show you everything they have put so much time and effort into. The shows will take place here at Hawthorne High School, on Thursday, December 8th at 7:30 pm, Friday, December 9th at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 10th at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm, and the final show is the Sunday matinee, on December 11th at 2:00 pm.

The Clarion joined the cast at rehearsal and asked a few actors some questions about the show. Gennesy Cintron, a junior here at HHS, is best known for her lead role of “Scout” in the Fall Production of 2015: To Kill a Mockingbird. Cintron greeted The Clarion Reporter with a smile.


Clarion Reporter: What character do you play in the show?

Gennesy Cintron: In this year’s fall production, I play the angry, opinionated, stubborn, and very loud character of Juror #3.


Clarion Reporter: Was preparing for this play difficult?

GC: Preparing for this play was much more difficult than I had anticipated. The play happens on one set for the whole show, so you have to stay in character the entire time. Another reason as to why this play was more difficult than any other shows that I have participated in is because, my character is extremely different from other characters I have had to play, and the complete opposite of who I am.


Clarion Reporter: How excited are you for the outcome of this show?

GC: I am very excited for the outcome of the show, and I can’t wait for my fellow classmates and friends to enjoy it too.


Next up, The Clarion asked junior, Alex Di Filippo, the same questions. Alex Di Filippo is previously known for his role as; “Clarence” in the 2014 Fall Production of “It’s a Wonderful Life”: “Mr. Bratt” in the 2015 Spring Musical of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”; and “Benny Southstreet” in the 2016 Spring Musical of “Guys and Dolls.”


Clarion Reporter: What character do you play in the show?

Alex Di Filippo: I play Juror #10, who is the hotheaded, racist, bigot of the show. Personally, I play him as a racist bigot, and he’s so loud and obnoxious because he lives alone and never gets to share his ideas. This is why I love theater so much. You get to take traits that you know from a character and create a backstory. It’s like an outline in a coloring book.


Clarion Reporter: Was preparing for this play difficult?

Alex Di Filippo: Preparing for this show was personally difficult because I generally play the more upbeat and happy roles, so having to scream at everyone is an interesting change. It’s a lot of fun to play an angry man, though. I get to try acting tips that I’ve usually never had to use before.


Clarion Reporter: How excited are you for the outcome of this show?

Alex Di Filippo: I’m very excited for the outcome of this show because it’s very relevant in today’s society. It touches on a topic that’s hotly debated throughout America today, and I think it’s really important to remind people that this problem still exists. It’s also a heck of alot of drama!


The Clarion moved from center stage to backstage, with a couple of questions for the managers in the costume department, stage crew department, and lights department.


Clarion Reporter: Who has the best costume?

Geena Occhipinti (Costume Manager): Juror #3, played by Gennesy, has the best costume out of all 13 characters, because she looks like a power-mom that’s about to get her way, and ONLY her way. She looks extremely professional, as she rocks the color red, also known to be a “power color.”


Clarion Reporter: What’s your favorite part of the set?

Aimee Alvino (Stage Manager): My favorite part of the set is probably the paint colors on the walls, because there was a lot of thought put into it. It’s just a very horrible and uncomfortable color, and I think it sets a mood on stage that really contributes to the show.


Clarion Reporter: How do you think the overall configuration of the stage turned out?

Aimee Alvino: I think it turned out better than we had expected. It’s both Pat and my first year as stage managers, so I guess you could say we were inexperienced with how to exactly put together a set, but I think that all in all we kind of made it work.

Pat Moorhouse (Stage Manager): Yeah, I’d say the color choices and all the set pieces really come together to make it look like a jury holding room. We thought of some of these things as we were going along, and it has really come together nicely. It has a realistic feel, and everyone is quite happy with it.


Clarion Reporter: Rumor has it that you are calling the light cues this show. Are you nervous to be in charge of such an important task?

Kaitlyn Melendez (Lights Manager): At one of the first rehearsals, I went to Miss Griffin with a suggestion for a light cue in the show. While we were talking about the light design that I am currently working on, Miss Griffin told me that she had this idea in mind that I would call the light cues this show. I was so surprised, and now that the show is around the corner, the feeling of nervousness, alongside excitement has definitely taken over. This is my fifth show, here at HHS, altogether, but it is my third show as a manager for the lights department, so I have heard Miss Griffin call all the cues numerous times. It will definitely be a challenge, but I think I am prepared to take on the job.

Finally, The Clarion stepped off the stage to ask the directors a couple of questions. Due to Mrs. Hackett stepping down from the director’s chair, the shows are now under new management. Miss Griffin, who has been Mrs. Hackett’s partner for years, has taken over with an HHS alumni, Marchelle Roniet.


Clarion Reporter: How much different is it running the show without Mrs. Hackett?

Miss Griffin: Mrs. Hackett is such a powerful force of positivity and energy.  I never wanted to look at it as stepping into her shoes, because she is truly one of a kind. So I look at it more as blazing my own new trail. That’s helped a lot– not thinking so much, “What would Mrs. Hackett do?,” rather, “What do I want to do?” The wonderful thing is that she’s always standing by for me, ready to offer advice and answer my questions, and pick me up when I’m feeling stressed!  She is still our cheerleader, but from the wings instead of in front of the stage. She is the best mentor I’ve ever had, and a true friend. Even though she isn’t at rehearsal with us, her presence is still everywhere– in our work ethic, in our drive to succeed, and in the lessons about life and theatre she’s taught us along the way. I’m so immensely grateful.


Clarion Reporter: What is it like co-directing your first show here at HHS?

Miss Roniet: It’s great, actually, to be back at Hawthorne High School, and being able to work in this capacity, being able to do something that I enjoy from the opposite side of the spectrum now. I love being on the director side of the shows. It’s wonderful being able to work with Miss Griffin, considering we were in high school together, and middle school. It’s amazing being able to work alongside someone who has the same passion that I have, along with the students that share the growing passion for theater.


Clarion Reporter: Why did you choose this show as the fall production of 2016? What message does the audience take with them from this show?

Miss Griffin: I’ve had this show in the back of my mind for years, knowing we’d get to it some day when the time was right. I’m more of a musicals person, so when there’s a play I latch onto it for an important reason. “Twelve Angry Jurors” is such a powerful piece. It’s about the very human struggle of coming to an impartial decision despite one’s personal feelings and biases.  There’s a lot of heated discussion among the jurors because they all come from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and sometimes one says something that another takes offense to. It’s no different than real life, and it’s the same struggle that our country has been going through. Some of the jurors are all about working together despite their differences, while others set themselves apart and call their peers names and make some really terrible remarks about people who are not like them. None of these characters are heroes. They are very real people with very real flaws.

For one thing, I hope that the audience comes away thinking about the show’s conclusion. I won’t give away what happens, but the verdict the jurors come to isn’t cut and dry. I want the audience to leave wondering if they’ve made the right decision.

I also want the audience to think about the points of view that each character represents, and whether or not they see some of themselves in the characters. The point of theatre is to reflect real life back at us in some way, and if the audience walks away thinking about who these characters and their beliefs represent in the audience’s own lives, then we’ve done our jobs.


With all that being said, the cast, crew, and the directors are excited to show their audience what “12 Angry Jurors” is truly about. Come support them all and their hard work by attending the show!

Thursday, December 8th at 7:30 pm

Friday, December 9th at 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 10th at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 11th at 2:00 pm

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