By Nate McLeod ’17, Spencer Winson ’17, Tim Bloom ’17, and Tomy Patrich ’17
New Guys in Mask and Wig are flung head-first into the six frenzied weeks that lead to Fall Show. Those with musical theater experience are used to companies that rehearse a piece for a full two months before the production. Mask and Wig, on the other hand, writes and composes its fall production in four and a half weeks. Then, there is one week to put it all together. The hours are long, homework takes a back seat, and a social life is monopolized. But as members of each section indicate, it is absolutely worth it.
The Cast – By Nate McLeod ’17
Any actor knows there is something magical about performing live theater – it is just as meaningful to the actors as it is to the audience. It is even more special when you are performing material you created yourself. In the end, Mask and Wig’s Fall Show was not only a success but also a wonderful experience. What made it so great and memorable was not the shrieks of laughter we received from the audience, was not the sound of applause after a successful bit, and was not random people coming up to me talking about Segways or shoving imaginary food down their throats in homage to the “Extras” sketch. It was not having friends or family awkwardly mingle after the show to tell you that you did a good job, it was not overhearing people in the hallways talking about how much they enjoyed the show, and it was not even the after party. What makes the experience truly great happens sometime during the final curtain call when we sing the same songs that company members have been singing for generations. With a successful show under your belt, you feel a wave of history wash over you, leaving you to just think: I am a part of something that is, for lack of a better word, pretty freaking cool.
The Crew – By Spencer Winson ’17
After laboring away on a set I never could have imagined building, seeing the show come together with a full 3-story pagoda and epic sound and lighting really was a dream-come-true for this new crew member! The experience (literally) flashed before my eyes as I learned how to use intelligent lighting and how to employ these amazing devices to highlight and enhance the hilarious comedy created by the cast. While in the lighting booth, I would constantly find myself cracking up repeatedly from all the clever writing and humming along with the musical numbers. It was amazing to see all the hours of work convert to a sold-out audience, truly making what we do worth it. I can’t wait for more experiences like this, where I have the opportunity to learn new skills while hanging out with my friends. Cheers to an amazing fall show!
The Business Staff – By Tim Bloom ’17
As a business staff new guy, one of my first tasks was persuading local vendors to purchase ad space in our fall show program. Each time I went out to speak with a manager or to give my sales pitch to an owner, I tried as hard as I could to make each of them understand what kind of production we were putting on. For that first month of ad sales, fall show was nothing more than a few words on the top of an advertising contract that read “A State of Confucian.” It was something that I saw and talked about on a daily basis. This past weekend at the show, I thought back to those ad sales and realized that while I was making all of those pitches, I didn’t even know what an amazing product I was selling. In the past few days I’ve learned that “A State of Confucian” is more than just a show. “A State of Confucian” is a 26-foot pagoda that reaches high above the rafters of Iron Gate Theater. It’s a video about dogs in space, full of explosions and professional-quality special effects. It’s the look of delight on the faces of the audience as they see pictures of themselves taken that very night projected above the stage, and it’s singing along each night as the incredibly talented cast breaks into songs about everything from NSO to the NSA. “A State of Confucian” was so much more than I ever could have imagined, and I am honored to have been a part of it.
The Band – By Tomy Patrich ’17
After several weeks of continuous individual work, dedication and sacrifice, opening night was the first time I felt the Cast, Crew, Band and Business Staff of the Mask and Wig Club become one unified performing arts group. As the theater began to fill with eager spectators to a sold-out show, the lights dimmed on the monumental Asian-inspired structure, and the band began playing the opening notes to what would be our annual Fall Show. As nervous as most of us were, I could feel the excitement of the roaring crowd with every note we played and every skit we performed. Making others laugh and enjoy themselves to great music was more fulfilling than I could have imagined. “A State of Confucian” was my first Fall Show with Mask and Wig, and before the show, upperclassmen mentioned “you have no idea what’s coming,” quite frequently. Looking back, I did not know what to expect, and even after experiencing it, I’m still not sure how to begin explaining what it’s like to be part of a musical comedy group that’s rich with culture, tradition, and an intrinsic desire to entertain. It was truly a remarkable and memorable experience, and I am already looking forward for many performances to come.