Liberty High School performed a way out performance of Jealousy Jane in the fall for their district festival. The original script calls for five actors and little more than a couple of cubes. Director Nathan Uhrig saw so much more.
I love directors who are inspired by a script and yet are fully committed to the intention within the script. This was truly a theatrical extravaganza! The production was invited to perform as a special feature this month at the Florida State Junior Thespian festival and I was thrilled to be able to see the show and talk to the cast afterwards. All 32 of them…
Photo courtesy Scott Tucker Photography, Inc.
Lindsay: Ah! So, hello!
We are backstage at the Melbourne Auditorium and this, believe it or not, is the cast – hello, wave, hello, hi! – of Jealousy Jane and they, you guys are from, what high school are you from? Liberty High?
Cast: Liberty High School!
Lindsay: Yes, and so, you guys are high school. This is a middle school conference, but you are a high school and you performed it – you’re districts – and you were invited to come and be the feature performance at the Florida State Junior Thespian Conference which, I think, is a great honour. Congratulations!
Cast: Thank you!
Lindsay: So, the first thing I have to, we’re going to talk about dramatic interpretation, because the first thing we need to talk about is the fact that, how many are originally listed in the cast of Jealousy Jane? How many? Tell me.
Girl 1: 32?
Lindsay: No, there are…
Girl: When she wrote it.
Lindsay: There are five, and what we have is this wonderful not-five group. And you guys did it in a very specific way. Someone explain what’s the whole theme, the genesis behind this, yeah?
Girl 2: Okay. Well, basically, everything is morphed into a cartoon so everything that’s smaller in someone’s head becomes bigger, and I think, when we first got the concept, it was really hard to grasp because it’s like, how do you become a cartoon, you know? How do you step into the TV and become something that children watch?
Girl 2: I think that, once we did that, and we saw the smiles on the children’s faces, I think that’s when we lit up and that’s when we became our main characters.
Lindsay: Okay. So, tell me some of the things you did, because it’s a very physical thing this cartoon. So, what were some of the things you did in rehearsal to get that?
Boy 1: I remember one of the things that I guess I did to get into character was just to think big times ten. Thinking big, kind of like, how do I explain? Like, instead of, you know, just like, walking, walking becomes bigger strides.
Lindsay: Well, give me… Who’s Jane? (0:02:07.4 unclear) you guys have taken off your costumes so I don’t know who everybody is. Who’s Jane? Hello, Jane!
Girl 3: Hi!
Lindsay: Wonderful job.
So, when you guys do a gesture, it’s not just this, right? It’s boom boom!
Girl 3: It’s big.
Lindsay: Do that for me. Do a doo-doo.
Yey! Just like that.
What have your audience responses have been? Yes, please.
Boy 2: I felt that our audience has been, well, very responsive.
Boy 2: For example, we performed for a set of elementary kids.
Boy 2: And they love it. They ate up every aspect of the show – the colours, the cartoons, the facial expressions, the gestures. And even the more mature audiences like the adults, they loved it as well. So, I felt like we executed it really well and the cartoon vision of the show was very, very obscure and very, very well-done. And I felt like they received it well and they loved how we just brought our director’s imagination to life.
Lindsay: To life, yeah! Hey!
Girl 4: Okay. So, like, going on back with what Kyle said, I just want to try and provide like an example. For the eyeball scene – which, unfortunately, didn’t work out today…
Girl 4: But I remember the first time we did it for the elementary school students, you could hear the little kids, “Oh! My god! Go away! You’re not supposed to be here!” And it was the cutest thing and I think that it just made it all worthwhile…
Girl 4: …just to see the reactions.
Lindsay: You know, I’ll tell you my favourite audience reaction tonight was that you knew you had them when Jane brought out the lunch pail and went like that. Actually, I’m doing it behind… Yes, went like that. That’s all she did! That’s when you knew you had them.
Boy 2: What I really liked about the show performance today was that it’s a very interactive show.
Boy 2: You know, you see a lot of serious shows and non-comedic shows and it’s more like, you know, you just make the audience laugh or cry. But I felt like we had a lot of moments where, when we did something – like when Jane held the lunch box and she did the acknowledgement (0:04:08.4 unclear) – you know, the audience laughed. And during the dance, you can hear people shouting at us like, “You go, girl!” and “I love them!”
Girl: I remember that!
Boy 2: And, “Look at that!” something like that.
Lindsay: Well, I have to tell you, the reason I do theatre is because I kind of think it’s a circle. It’s very cyclical thing. What comes out from the stage goes out to the audience, the audience responds, and that energy comes back. It’s a never-ending circle that you don’t get anywhere else.
So, I have to say that, really, congratulations for really embodying what theatre means to me. Not only bringing my script to life but bringing it to life in this wonderfully theatrical… This is what theatre should be, right? Theatre must be theatrical. And, also, theatre must take a chance, right?
Lindsay: You know, it could not have worked, and that is really important. We don’t take enough chances with our…
Girl 2: Life.
Lindsay: Arts, with our life! It’s true! It’s true! And, so, that’s what I’m saying.
Anyone have any last moments of Jealousy Jane? Yes?
Girl 2: I think, as the final thing of my senior year, and all the seniors that are here, and even the juniors and the sophomores, I think it was the final cherry on top of everything.
Girl 2: It’s a big experience.
Girl: Oh, my gosh!
Girl 2: And we’ve done it so many times, it’s become a part of me.
Lindsay: All right. Go Jealousy Jane! Wooh!