Cassandra, a member of the Apprentice at Signature program and a junior at H.B Woodlawn, will be working as our light board operator for Signature in the Schools' world premiere production of Un-American this year.
Signature in the Schools has already been an interesting experience. I really enjoy the time we’re taking to learn and understand the historical background of our show, Un-American. We’re currently taking an in-depth look at the McCarthy Era. A lot of the focus of our has been on trying to understand the situations that the accused people and those involved with them were put into. We’ve had some great discussion in class, taking a look at the motives people had for their actions during the anti-communist investigations. We’ve started to take a step back and view these people as humans, who have good and bad in them but also have valid reasons for their decisions. What still amazes me is that although their reasons are valid, each person that was a part of these trials was placed in a difficult situation, with a lot of uncertainty, basically forcing the decision-making process to become that much more gut-wrenching. And no matter what the circumstance, there was always some damage caused to someone.
During rehearsals, we’ve also been learning about the effects the McCarthy Era had on the theatre world, the most notable effect being the schism of Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller’s friendship. The breaking off of their friendship eventually resulted in Miller writing one of his most well-known pieces of writing, The Crucible, containing heavy undertones of the anger Miller felt towards Kazan for giving names of supposed Communists to HUAC (House of Un-American Activities Committee) and of common events that occurred surrounding the McCarthy Era.
The educational portions of rehearsal haven’t been the only beneficial aspect of Signature in the Schools though. These few past weeks have been a great opportunity to get to know our cast and crew better. As a member of the technical crew, it’s great to know that I won’t just be a stranger coming in tech week in January. Our all-cast/all-crew rehearsals will end next week, but hopefully, because of these last couple of weeks, I'll arrive at tech as a friend rejoining the company. Signature in the Schools is kicking off to a great start, it’s very fun and intriguing and I’m excited to see what is yet to come!