Students rehearse ‘Company’ musical

Juliana Berger

A semi-translucent material called scrim hangs from top to bottom on back of the Rugby stage, adding a dreamlike feel to the set of the musical, “Company,” which takes place entirely in a 30-second time span in the head of the main character.
“When you light it from the front, everything that is behind it is not visible,” performing arts teacher and musical director Ted Walch said. “When you light it from behind, everything that is behind it is visible, and the scrim just disappears.”
In Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” a man finds himself unattached on his 35th birthday with all of his friends married or engaged. Played by Adam Yaron ’16 in the upper school fall musical, now in rehearsal, the character Robert self-reflects in a series of seemingly unconnected vignettes.
The musical will be performed Nov. 14-16 in the Rugby Auditorium.
Walch and Michele Spears produced this same musical several years ago, but this time decided to emphasize the illusory qualities of the musical.
“For example, in many cases where you think there might be props, there are none, they’re just imagined,” Walch said. “Because if you are remembering something you are remembering it in a different way.”
Walch and Spears conceived of the idea to use the fabric to aid the imaginary feeling, and Performing Arts Department Head Rees Pugh and performing arts teacher Alex Kolmanovsky designed and executed the set.
“The material itself lends a fluffy, dream-like quality, like cloud,” assistant director Teddy Leinbach ’15 said. “Just a fuzzy, indistinct feeling that really aids in the illusion and in the feeling that this is an abstract moment in time.”
The center of the set is focused on a grand piano, which Walch said will gain a certain meaning over the course of the show. There will also be several objects to be used as chairs or tables, but while they are functional, they have no distinct shape.
With a small cast of only 18, the actors in “Company” feel closer to one another than they felt in previous musicals, which involved a very large group of students according to Autumn Witz ’15, who plays Jenny, a close friend of Robert.
“The cast has really, really bonded,” Witz said. “We’re getting a lot of work done. Although the other thing is, you can’t rely on anybody to pick up your singing part.”
The actors will also all be on stage at all times, which means that they will have to constantly stay in character and react to the action on stage.
“They are always present in his mind, they have to always be in character, they’re always on,” Leinbach said.
When the characters are not in the scene, they may be wandering around in the orchestra section, which will make the section much more visually involved than in most musicals.
“We have a really talented cast and we are making huge improvements every day which is exciting… Our directors have been really helpful on getting to know the show on a deeper level which should make it an interesting experience for the audience and cast alike,” Elizabeth
Edel ’16 said.