The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm

The student news site of Amarillo High School

The Sandstorm


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A Spirited Show

Theatre department to perform Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward for Contest

The theatre department will perform at Palo Duro High School on March 22 for District UIL.

UIL challenges theatre departments to create a play with a time restriction of 40 minutes and a full crew of 24 students, including actors, understudies and technicians. Before District, the cast and crew attend clinics including the AISD Festival and the Hodge Festival, where the department performs and three judges suggest changes to improve the production. For more information about the Hodge Festival, click here. This year, Amarillo High will perform Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward.

“The play, in simple terms, is about a writer who, while attempting to gather information for an upcoming novel, accidentally conjures up the ‘Blithe Spirit’ of his late wife Elvira,” Isaiah Wells, Dr. Bradman in the main cast, said.

Throughout the play, many magic tricks take place to create the ghost-like effect of the ex-wife including sugar plates, female bust statues with glowing red eyes and books falling out of bookshelves.

“This is the first time in my time in the department that we’ve been able to compete with a comedy so that’s very exciting,” Wells said. “This rehearsal process has been the most fun I’ve had with a show in a long time.”

Understudies play an important role in UIL because every character has a person who can step in if needed; this show has a full understudy cast.

“…if somebody gets sick or somebody is absent or somebody is ineligible for some reason, we have someone ready to step in and do the show no matter what,” Director Alexandra Obenhaus said.

A full understudy cast brings security, the cast also puts in time and effort to prepare their performance in case of an emergency.

“Some people I’m sure are worried about the potential loss of rehearsal time that could come with an understudy cast, but it’s a massive weight off my shoulders knowing in case everything goes wrong we have backups and the show can still go on,” Wells said. “Being able to continue working even when people are gone is a great privilege that we haven’t had in previous years.”

The department has the safety net of an understudy cast, but has also been challenged with Obenhaus’ maternity leave. After the Hodge Festival, Obenhaus will step away from rehearsals due to her pregnancy. As a result, Technical Director Michael Newman will focus on both acting and technical work, with the assistance of Oakley Farrar, middle school theatre director.

“Every time we do a production, the goal is to create a piece of art that we are proud of,” Technical Director Michael Newman said. “Working out schedules with Amarillo High and Tascosa, and making sure no one gets neglected has always been the most difficult part of my job, but I’m up for the challenge.”

UIL brings together technicians and actors for new experiences each year, instilling passion within the department.

“I hope I get more experience in technical theatre and learn new skills, [and] then mostly have fun with my friends and have a good show,” technician Carl Vigil said.

The school performance will take place in the auditorium during a scheduled activity. further information will be provided at a later date.

“It’s gonna be a great show, we have a school performance on March 18 at 10:15 a.m., come see it,” Obenhaus said.

Note: District results will be posted here 03/23

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About the Contributor
Axel Willis, Writer
I have been on Newspaper staff for two years now and I focus mainly on theatre stories since I am the Vice President of Drama Club. Outside of school I work and hang out with my dogs. :)