By Isabelle Saba
“I know stuff about animal farm. There’s Napoleon, Snowball, Boxer [Jake C. chimed in], and a windmill! [Clem D. excitedly added]. Yea! That too.” -Reed H. class of ‘17. Whether you are a George Orwell enthusiast, know as much as Reed H., or are a complete stranger to the story, Animal Farm is projected to be a success.
Later arranged as a musical by Peter Hall, George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, is a saga about a group of farm animals who rebel against humans and overtake their estate with the intention of establishing equality, freedom, and happiness for all. “Animal Farm is a haunting combination of slapstick comedy and brutal totalitarianism” -Hannah W. Class of ‘19. The musical element of the production is “not campy. The music fits the story…mostly in minor keys and military marches… It really augments the performance” -Erin B. class of ‘19. “The cast and crew have been working very hard since many rehearsal and work days were cancelled due to the snow, and I think that everyone should try to make it to the show.” -Cara S.
The main time consuming element of the play for the techies (students in stagecraft who stay for the production) is the masks that the actors wear. “Every character has a mask and some actors have multiple masks” -Emily H. class of ‘17. The mask making process is roughly 5 steps. The mask base is pre-made but without mouth or nose holes for ventilation. The techies then “make the eyes bigger so the audience can see the actor’s emotions and cut out the mouth and nose.” -Emily H. The shape of the mask is changed by adding cardboard or paper to make the masks resemble the various animals. Then plaster is added “…to harden the mask, smooth it out, and make it structurally sound.” Finally the masks are painted and ribbon is attached. A few of the different mask types are: “chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, horses and cows.” -Emily H. Below are a couple of pictures I took to document the process of a couple different masks. Each mask takes upwards of two activity periods to finish. So, of course, the techies were a little tense; I asked Sarah S. for an interview and she said “Go away or I’ll staple you” as she raised a joking eyebrow while holding a menacing staple gun.
Some of the stress can be attributed to Tech Week. Tech Week, which is the most stressful seven days of any production, starts this Sunday the 26th of February from 1pm to 9pm. Then on Monday and Tuesday, there are dress rehearsals until 10pm, and the week ends with four performances from Wednesday through Saturday from 7pm to 10pm with the cast and techies called in at 5:30pm. Tickets are available for reservation here. It’s going to be a really good rendition of the classic Orwell story. You definitely a can’t miss the show!