The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

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

Burlingame drama’s 99-minute masterpiece

Emma Yu
Junior Lucas Keeley, playing the god Hephaestus talks with sophomore Gina Saccuman, who acts as the goddess Aphrodite.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, Burlingame Drama opened its annual fall play “The Iliad, The Odyssey and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less.”

This year’s play was a compilation of classic Greek epics packed into fast-paced scenes with audience-interactive acts and mythological jokes. It also had the added difficulty of a set time limit. A literal 99-minute timer held the cast and crew accountable for quick costume changes and character switches. 

“This is one of the most popular plays that we’ve done in the past few years,” senior and stage manager Georgia Birchall said. “Some of the biggest audiences we’ve received for plays have happened.”

Birchall is in charge of ensuring the production’s success, as she operates light and sound equipment from the control booth, cues actors and special effects, and communicates with her backstage assistant stage managers, senior Claire West and junior Happy Lee. Together, they worked to make the opening night run as best as possible. 

“We all did great [during] opening night,” said junior and cast member Isaiah Palacios, whose main roles were Tom, the announcer, and prince Paris. “There [were] a few little hiccups, but that’s to be expected with opening night.”

Although the play was smooth sailing onstage, the cast and crew were in a constant state of controlled chaos backstage. The time limit added a rush for costume changes and allowed little room for error from the crew. 

“We had so many things going on,” Birchall said. “So many costume changes, so many props that we have to handle. [You] have to be very organized, you have to be very on top of it 100% of the time, and make sure that everything goes smoothly. It took a lot of practice and a lot of trying different things [to see] what works and what doesn’t.” 

On Oct. 15, the cast and crew performed a test run of the play in front of an audience of fifth graders and middle schoolers from nearby schools.

“It was very new for all of us, but [it] was such an amazing experience,” Birchall said. “The kids were a little bit out of control but [they] loved it. They gave us so much excitement for the real shows.”

At the beginning of rehearsals, the cast struggled to meet the time limit, but as they progressed, they gradually began to push the show duration under 99 minutes. Unfortunately, due to the time limit, the cast was constrained from adding as much artistic flourish as they would have liked in certain scenes.

“We were trying so hard to make sure it was [understandable], but also act it out,” Palacios said. “But the thing about having a timeline is that you have to realize that you can’t always just act. You can’t keep going [as much] as you want to [for] movement and acting. You have to realize you have a limit.“

The time limit, although restrictive on the creative side, added to the thrill of the play. When the show ended on opening night, the cast received thunderous applause from the audience for making it under the time limit with over a minute to spare. 

“It [forced] the cast and crew to have to adapt a lot,” Birchall said. “We would say ‘slow down’ or ‘speed up’ a lot of times throughout the play, so that we could keep on time. But it also gave an exciting factor to it. We were all just kind of running on adrenaline, and it was really fun.”

Freshman Pranav Bajaj, who watched the play, appreciated that actors still managed to express humor and passion while portraying characters despite the fast pace of the show. 

“I [especially] liked Diomedes,” Bajaj said. “The exaggerated acting was very nice, and he figured out the character pretty well. [The scenes] were all very funny, too.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Freshman Veer Choudhary, acting as the Greek god Hermes, delivers a message to the crowd.

  • Sophomore Rosemary Conant, acting as Jane, the show host, interviews the god Hades under his invisibility helmet as the timer ticks in the background.

The crew, often unsung heroes, completed the show by highlighting key moments in the play using unique props, costumes, lighting and sound effects. 

“The lighting was extremely well done in the beginning,” Bajaj said. “The costumes were nice and simple, yet they fit the scene each time. The sound effects were [also] great, especially with the rain, thunder and lighting [during] the Pandora’s box scene.”

For all seniors who participated, “The Iliad” is their last fall play at Burlingame. Their passion for the play was part of the reason that production director Cindy Skelton chose it.

“We’ve been wanting to do [this play] for a very long time, [for a] couple of years now,” Birchall said. “We’ve always wanted to finish off our senior year with a bang. It was [amazing to] finish out BHS with something that we were already passionate about.”

Skelton, who worked for over half a year on the play, played a big part in organizing and bringing together the cast and crew for the performance.

“Working closely with Skelton is also another thing that I love,” Birchall said. “She gives us such encouragement and inspiration for what we do.”

Whether or not they made it under the time limit, the cast and crew for this production had the experience of a lifetime running the show and bonding as a team. 

“We have strengthened from what I’ve seen,” Palacios said. “We’re really connected, we all help each other out during our scenes, [and are very] supportive of each other.”

While running the play, Birchall worked with everyone to make “The Iliad” become a reality for her senior friends, the cast and crew and the audience. 

“[Creating] that bond with everyone in the company is a really special thing,” Birchall said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.” 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Burlingame B
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Burlingame High School - CA. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
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.
Donate to The Burlingame B
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Burlingame B Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *