“Today, we are gathered here to mourn,” senior Andrew Hansen said to a crowd of students clad in cultish red gowns in the opening scene of the May Play titled “In Maymorium”, Acting 3-4’s final show of the year. The lost loved one in question was the Alan Harvey Theater, which will likely be torn down at the beginning of next year, said Director of Facilities Pete Palmer.
The majority of the May Play was in tribute to the theater. Senior Anna Campbell called out, “This one’s for you, Alan!” before the acting class performed their final scene, a dance to La La Land’s “Another Day of Sun”. The show described the many memories actors had of the theater, with a series of students thanking it for everything from its comfortable couches to its ugly yellow dressing room walls.
“Kim [Taylor] brought it up that she wanted us to include the Alan Harvey Memorial stuff in it,” said senior T.H. Williamson, who came up with the idea for the opening cult scene with junior Gracie Ellis. “It wraps up kind of nicely, having the concept of the memorial for the theater, but it was definitely sad to think it’s going to be gone.”
Williamson said that he became nostalgic after the May Play.
“I got kind of emotional about it because I was doing that thing where I’m writing my name on the wall and writing all the shows I’ve been in and I was looking back, wrote down The Drowsy Chaperone and was like ‘ah, damn’,” Williamson said. “I started getting all these memories back about all the time I’ve spent in there, the things I’ve done in that theater.”
Williamson said he’s sad that the school won’t be able to preserve the writing on the walls.
“I think it’s a shame that we’re not going to be able to somehow chronicle and keep track of all the people’s names in there,” Williamson said. “I think there’s a lot of the school’s history there, and there are names that are now on Broadway up there, there are some names that have done some pretty great things.”
However, not all of the theater is necessarily lost. Williamson said might take a few things from it before it is torn down.
“I have a plan to take an X-acto knife and cut off a section of drywall out,” Williamson said. “Maybe [I’ll take] some props from old shows, doorknobs from The Grown-Up.”
Sophomore and upcoming Acting 3-4 student Julie Ray said that they are still unsure where the class will be next year.
“We won’t necessarily have a planned space to have class,” Ray said. “For performances we’re probably going to have to rent out a space, possibly the Vet[eran]’s Hall, possibly another theater. Ms. Taylor has expressed a lot of uncertainty, but most of it is just ‘we’re going to have to be flexible with whatever happens.’”
Ray said she is optimistic about the change in venue opening up new doors.
“There might be less people that come just because they’re not sure where the show is, but I think it’s an opportunity to advertise the shows more outside the high school,” Ray said. “Maybe we advertise them more as something we’re putting on in the community, not just something for high school students.”
Ray said that the renovation is predicted to last two years, although it could be closer to three. While Ray is excited for the future of the acting class, she said many acting students cannot help but regret being caught in the middle.
“I’m excited for future students to have a better theater and nicer facilities, but it definitely is sad for the people who are in acting right now,” Ray said. “I feel like our generation of students tend to get caught in the transitions between awesome things that are going on in the school; a lot of the time I feel like we get the awkward period in between.”