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Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Noises off, curtains up

New theater teacher comes to ELHS, brings new program with her
Holding+a+prop+plate%2C+Grace+Papineau+%2810%29+stands+in+Thompsons+room+on+Sep.+25+rehearsing+the+play+Noises+Off+with+her+fellow+actors.
Photo by Joelle King
Holding a prop plate, Grace Papineau (10) stands in Thompson’s room on Sep. 25 rehearsing the play “Noises Off” with her fellow actors.

A year ago, Sara Thompson was living in California with a degree in English, a minor in Theater, and a dream of being a teacher. She moved out to Michigan and began her placement in Chelsea schools. But when the job application to work at ELHS popped up last school year, she still wasn’t sure. There was a simultaneous position available at Lansing schools that she was interested in. Eventually, despite her fears, Thompson decided to apply to ELHS and entered a whole new world than she had never experienced before after only wor

king at pre and elementary schools.

“My fear was that the… program [had fizzled] out and that I wouldn’t have a lot of students to come back to,” Thompson said.

Then, she had over 30 people audition.

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The show this season is titled “Noises Off and it surrounds a small cast of actors who are putting on a play within the play. Thompson was specifically interested in “Noises Offbecause she remembers her own high school doing it and it being a really fun show to see. 

Additionally, Thompson heard about “drama that happened in the theater department” over the last several years and chose “Noises Off” as a comedy. 

“I remember it being really funny when I watched it,” Thompson said.

To Thompson’s surprise, the turnout and talent at auditions on Aug. 30 went beyond what she anticipated. However, the casting of “Noises Off” only req

Measuring a plank, Francesco Porco (12) helps tech crew prepare for upcoming fall play. (Photo by Joelle)

uires nine actors. So, Thompson made the decision to double cast, meaning that each character would be played by two different actors.

“I’ve double casted shows before when I worked at the elementary school,” Thompson said. “So I was like, I guess I can do it again. I just want as many people to be a part of it as possible”

Zoe Yingling (11) is among one of the casts and thinks that Thompson’s decision was definitely for the better. Yingling, who has done three productions at ELHS, found that it was difficult to build a community with previous cast members because of the larger sizes.

“In the musicals, the casts are just humongous and you don’t even talk to some of the people at all,” Yingling said. “But, you can’t really do that when you only have nine people on your cast and you just get to know everybody better.”

Additionally, the show will run two weekends rather than just one to accommodate both casts, something that comes as a comfortable change for the program. In fact, many of the changes that Thompson has made so far and plans to make seem fairly comfortable.

“Eventually, my goal is to really build a program,” Thompson said. “Currently, it’s functioning, but I think it could be better and I want to make it better.”

Additionally, Thompson plans on getting the Theater Club up and running.  Eventually, she wants to build more theater-based classes and have her Advanced Theater class plan next year’s show. Already, she and the tech crew are gearing up for the spring musical, “Mamma Mia!”.

“I’m so glad I get to work with [Thompson],” Yingling said.  “I think she really wants to have a good culture within the theater program and build it up.”

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About the Contributors
Leo Kendall, Print Editor of Copy
Leo Kendall is a member of the Class of 2025 and the Print Editor of Copy for Portrait. This is their second year on Portrait and their favorite thing about journalism is being able to tell the stories and represent underrepresented groups and individuals at the highschool. When they're not in the newsroom, you can usually find them listening to music, working at Target, or running one of their many clubs.
Joelle King, Photography Editor
Joelle King is in the class of 2025 and is a Photography Editor for Portrait.  This is her second year on staff as a junior.  Joelle's favorite thing about journalism is telling stories through video. When she is not in the newsroom, Joelle loves competitive dancing and reading.

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