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The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

A preview of the fall play, in nine minutes or less

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Emma Yu
Senior Dylan Ares Hansen raises his arms in victory during rehearsals for the fall play.

This October, Burlingame’s fall play will feature stories from the Iliad, the Odyssey and Greek Mythology, rewritten and performed as a fast-paced modern comedy. 

The play, titled “The Iliad, the Odyssey and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes Or Less,” condenses the thousand-page-long epics of Grecian authors into a 99-minute highlight reel. 

“The Iliad is such a fun play,” senior and stage manager Georgia Birchall said. “It’s so chaotic, but it’s more controlled chaos. It’s hilarious, and I’ve [never] seen this much passion that all the cast and crew members have put into plays so far.”

Viewers will recognize most of the characters featured in the play from timeless tales that are often referenced in modern society in the form of metaphors, morals and idioms. Other myths are retold in popular novels, such as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson pentalogy.

“Many people know a lot of Greek myths, and they’re going to recognize a lot of the characters,” said Cindy Skelton, the production director for the fall play. 

Skelton also said that this play was chosen intentionally to invoke familiarity and humor.

“[Since Covid], Burlingame’s plays have been kind of light-hearted because I feel like after COVID, we needed laughter,” she said. “It’s all about laughter and happiness.”

Although the show will be performed in under 99 minutes, the preparation for the show might total closer to 99 days. Skelton began work on the fall play with her production team in the summer, starting early to design the set, props and costume lists.

“We have over 180 props and costume pieces,” Skelton said. “It’s crazy, because I have 13 actors playing about 70 characters. It took me four and a half to five and a half hours just to cast the show.”

Junior Lucas Keeley, an actor playing nine different roles in the play, agreed that the casting of the show was a rigorous logistical task.

“All of the actors in our cast are really amazing and versatile, and we could honestly all play any of the roles,” Keeley said. “It was [a matter] of who they could actually put in the scene.”

Junior Isaiah Palacios, playing the character “Phaeton,” rehearses a scene in the fall play. (Emma Yu)

To prepare for the show, the thirteen cast members rehearse every day after school. Three weeks before the show goes live, the costume, prop, light, sound and stage crews will transform the characters and the stage to allow for complete rehearsals. 

“There’s a bunch of jobs within the crew that we split into,” Birchall said. “As the stage manager, you [have to] oversee all of the crews and work a little bit in each of them.”

During the performance, Birchall will be manning the lights and sound booth aided by her two assistant stage managers. Her role is to oversee all of the stage cues and ensure that everything is running smoothly. 

“It’s going to be controlled chaos backstage, and hopefully smooth sailing on stage,” Skelton said. “[But] we could not do [this show] without the crew.”

Birchall said that being a stage manager requires a large time commitment, but that working in theater has also become a lifelong passion.

“I think it’s really cool working in a part of the production that’s interactive and does a lot of work backstage,” Birchall said.

Throughout rehearsals, the cast and crew members have bonded over their love of theater, forming a supportive and welcoming community. 

Veer Choudhary, an actor performing five roles in the play, is one of the only freshmen in the fall play, but that hasn’t kept from feeling accepted among the older and more experienced cast and crew.

“I was nervous, but it turns out that everybody’s super nice [and] amazing,” Choudhary said. “They’re definitely all older than me, so they didn’t have to include me, but they did.”

Nevertheless, leaders in the drama community would like to welcome more people into the theater community. Keeley, the treasurer of the drama club at Burlingame, noted the lack of auditions, forcing students to play multiple roles.

“Only 15 people auditioned, and 13 got in,” Keeley said. “One thing we need to work on in the coming years is making [theater] an environment that’s more welcoming, and hopefully get more people to join.”

Regardless of the challenges thrown their way, the cast and crew of the performance are rehearsing for countless hours at the theater, preparing for the show to hit the stage next month.

“Whether they’re on stage or on the crew, every single person involved in the show takes their job so seriously and with such dedication,” Skelton said. “I’m just so proud and honored to be working with them. They’re a phenomenal group of people.”

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Emma Yu, Staff Reporter
Emma Yu is a freshman at Burlingame High School and a first year journalism student. She’s very excited to be part of The Burlingame B staff this year and learn about what it takes to become a journalist! Some hobbies that led her to journalism are writing stories, designing graphics, parliamentary debate, and impromptu speech. In her free time, Emma also enjoys painting, reading classics, gaming, and studying philosophy.
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