July 8, 2020

From the stage to the screen the Performing Arts department presents, “Under Milk Wood”

Suzie Kim '23, Staff Writer

The cast of "Under Milk Wood" gives a smiling thumbs up to the tremendous play coming soon. Photo courtesy of Ms. Kara Sullivan.

The soon to be showcased online school play Under Milk Wood shows the true dedication of the Performing Arts department even during difficult times. While many of the play’s specific details are still to be determined, most factors such as the cast and sound-producing have been decided. 

According to Kleo Mitrokostas ’20, the student director for Under Milk Wood, the 1954 play Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas is a radio drama, meaning that Thomas wrote the piece intending for it to be performed only with voices and recorded for the radio. In the work, the audience is taken through the daily lives of the townspeople via the voices of actors and nothing more.

“The play follows the residents of Llareggub, a small Welsh town, throughout a day in their lives. It focuses on their dreams versus the reality of their every day,” said Mitrokostas.

As the director of Under Milk Wood, Ms. Kara Sullivan believes this piece contains unique components and alluring language, making the piece lively. 

“This is a beautiful piece of text that captures the dreams, the day and then the dreams again of a small fishing village in Wales. It has interesting characters and beautiful language,” said Sullivan.

Since the play is online, the cast will have to adapt and learn to proceed with the performance amid learning a new, digital acting process. The performance is set to air towards the end of May with Vimeo as a possibility for the platform, though they are still investigating options. The cast will be using Foley, an application that provides a reproduction of everyday sound effects that are added to films, videos, and other media in order to use live sound effects. 

As the student director, Mitrokostas assists Sullivan as well as sharing directorial responsibilities such as casting, table work of the script, and attending all rehearsals on Zoom to help direct the cast. The cast has been deeply analyzing each line and character focusing on truly understanding everything individually. 

“The play is written in a Welsh dialect and infuses Old English, so the cast has to start with breaking down each line to understand its meaning. We also discuss the rich histories of each character and the details of the relationships between characters in the play,” said Mitrokostas.

Mitrokostas wanted to become a student director for a long time, so even though acting as a student director during the era of COVID-19 and online learning presents many challenges, she rose to the occasion. 

“I knew I had an obligation to this cast to continue being involved and make light of a difficult situation. My time as a student director is even more meaningful now because I know I am helping to craft a show during completely unprecedented times,” said Mitrokostas

 After the cast finished up the foundational table work, the next step of the process was moving onto individual scene rehearsals where they will be able to work with a few actors as a time to stage the piece. 

According to Kathryn Fischmann ’23, an actor in Under Milk Wood, the entire cast of fourteen members has three to four parts each. 

“The most difficult aspect is making each character distinct in their own way while the easiest aspect is being able to act in the comfort of my own home, wearing sweatpants and fuzzy socks. I am grateful that Ms. Sullivan, the director, and Olivia [Gemelli], the tech director, are able to dedicate their time at home to us,” said Fischmann.

Fischmann, who was also part of the previous school play Everyone Gets Eaten by Sharks, was disappointed that the last two performances of that show were canceled due to COVID-19. The original spring show, She Kills Monsters, was also canceled due to COVID-19.

“As someone who was a part of the Everyone Gets Eaten By Sharks crew, I was very disheartened to hear we would be canceling our last two performances. In May, we weren’t even able to hold auditions [for She Kills Monsters],” said Fischmann. 

However, Fischmann is grateful that she has the ability to perform during difficult times. 

“I’ve never worked in a situation like this, so the whole experience is new to all of us. That being said, it is nice that we still have an opportunity to act in these rough times,” said Fischmann.

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