Theatre Thoughts: Throw Back to High School

Erin Karll

  • OnStage Missouri Columnist

I am from the St Louis area, and we are known for asking one question of locals....Where did you go to high school? For me the answer is St. Dominic. I was a typical theatre kid. I joined the spring musical, took 'acting for theatre' which cast the fall play, joined the choirs, joined the speech team competing in meets in the surrounding area, and was even a member of the writers guild that met after school. All of my friends followed the same path for the most part. Those years on the stage, a simple proscenium built into the gym, helped me grow has a confidant person. I went on to study Arts Management in college. I could type up stories about my experiences all day because arts education was part of my formative years. Please take a moment to look at your local education system.

Many schools are now forced to cut programs due to lack of funds. But these classes and groups help every student in countless ways. These programs are not just for the future Broadway star, they help the next generation of doctors, lawyers, and business owners gain the skills of public speaking and creative thinking. The creative thinking comes into play when you have to problem solve on stage in front of an audience. Here are just a few of my favorite mishaps. 
When I attended St. Dominic the theatre did not have many bells and whistles. In fact we were known for making due with less. The backdrop had been used for years and had layers of paint chipping off. Throwing that out was a joy for the stage crew. The lighting was also always a surprise to work with.There was also a night during our production of 'HMS Pinafore' when the lights went out. We had not only thrown the whole circuit breaker, but it started to melt. Our lighting tech drove to his home down the road and got a generator. After intermission we had full lights. 

I played the duck in our production of  "Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass". During the caucus race scene I was suppose to run up and down the side aisle and bump into the rest of the race in the middle of the gym/audience. Opening night one of the spot lights went out and I missed the memo. I did the whole race in the dark and made a note to change my route for next performance. 

What are your favorite high school theatre horror stories? Use #HSTheatreMishaps and tag @onstageblog to share. I love reading these types of stories and look forward to seeing some great moments in High School theatre. 

Photo: Tri-School Theatre