Into the Woods: setting the stage

Into the Woods: setting the stage

Hannah berman

Melanie eating lunch outside of the theater

Hannah Berman, Staff Reporter

With PHUHS’s production of “Into the Woods” rapidly approaching, more and more people are getting a feel for what it’s about—a compilation of fairy tales, all cleverly interwoven to result in a fantasy masterpiece—though maybe a bit less “fairy tale” than one might anticipate, as the production borders on a Brother’s Grimm interpretation of the stories.

Even those who are unaware of the school’s musical production will still be familiar with the roles featured in the play, from Disney movies and stories told to them as children. With characters from Cinderella, Jack in the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, this play almost sounds like a story we’ve heard before. But truth be told, we haven’t. Not even close.

The interaction of all these characters brings the scenes into the woods, for a variety of reasons and under a variety of circumstances. And while the audience is bound to take pleasure in a new twist on all their old favorites, they’re still certain to enjoy the introduction of a new character they’ve never seen before.

The narrator of the play is young child—a girl played by Senior Melanie Izquierdo, who has experienced a serious and deep connection with her role. “I can’t see myself as anyone else,” she said. “I have such an emotional connection to my character that everything she says and does, I put a little bit of myself into it. I understand what is going on in her life. I know the feeling of you just want to make yourself happy and you don’t want to be around the people who made you upset.”

Melanie, along with her fellow actors, has spent too many hours to be calculated preparing for the production of Into the Woods. “[Rehearsals are] every day until five, every day of the week,” she said. “Plus working on it at home, by yourself, memorizing lines.”

After hours of memorizing, Melanie has all of her lines down. While still a little unsure about the blocking, as she spends a lot of time weaving her way around the stage during the show, she claims to know everything except for just a few scenes.

“It gets a little dry at rehearsals sometimes,” Melanie said. “But that’s only because you’re thinking about your next line, but ultimately, when you’re truly and honestly in character—you are the little girl—there’s no emotional change in it. Your life is the story.”

For an actor, the experience of the show is completely different. The participants in the production never have an opportunity to see the scenes they take a part in. “I don’t get to watch other scenes, but sometimes I wish I could,” Melanie said. “I’m never disappointed. Whenever I see something, it’s always, ‘Wow, this is creative.’”

Melanie admits to being a bit nervous, but says she would be more worried if she weren’t. “Being nervous, in a sense, is a good thing. Being nervous if your body’s way of telling you that you want to do the best you can possibly do,” she said. “Nerves is adrenaline, and once it kicks in on stage, there’s no going back.”