In the few months before the lights come up and the Rebel Drama shows begin, there are hundreds of hours of preparation that go into the sets, props, lighting, computer, and sound systems. There is a special group of young artists, builders, and technical specialists that step up to make sure that our Rebel Drama productions provide the level of high-quality entertainment that our audiences have enjoyed for many years.
This year’s production, We Will Rock You, provided some special challenges. The vision of the production was to provide a futuristic scenario of society underscored by the classic rock and roll music of the band Queen. Much of the set used the shades of red, blue, green, and yellow described as “Google Colors”, along with some scenes that were more drab hues that depicted the wasteland and ruins of iconic settings like the Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe and the gates at the entrance of Graceland, in Memphis.
Some of the tasks that the crew had were to construct platforms, steps, and walls that span almost forty feet across the stage and include an eight-foot rear projection screen, as the base set. Other challenges this year included building an eight by twenty-foot replica of the Graceland gates (on wheels so that it could be moved in a matter of seconds), programming and operating over a hundred stage lights, wireless microphone sound checks for every member of the cast, fog and bubble machines, and building the space on stage for a live rock band.
During the run of the show, scene changes have to be quick and precise to keep the rhythm and flow of the performance moving. Set changes are made while the stage is dark, and the running crew has to work together much like a NASCAR pit crew. These changes are practiced, timed, and evaluated to become as efficient as possible while still remaining safe for the crew and cast members.
On April 22nd and 23rd at 6:00 pm, the Players will be holding open auditions for the musical WORKING. The audition will be held at Madonna Hall (1793 elm Ave., Wabeno, WI 54566). You will be doing a cold reading and will be required to sing a short song that will be taught to you at the audition. If you would like more information please contact the Players at (715) 889-1606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This production will be performed July 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 & 27 at 7:00pm and 21 at 1:00pm in the Nancy Volk Auditorium (Wabeno High School, 4325 Branch St., Wabeno, WI 54566).
Working is the extraordinary genre-defining musical from Grammy and Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell) based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with the American workforce: Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. This highly original and universal portrait of the American workday is told from the perspective of those that the world so often overlooks – the schoolteacher, the millworker, the mason, the housewife, the fireman and the waitress amongst many – whose daily grind and aspirations reflect the truths of the people that make up a nation. Working employs a range of musical styles and genres from contributing composers, including five-time Grammy Award-winner James Taylor. Nominated for six Tony Awards, this classic has been updated for a modern age, featuring new songs by Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda.
In 2016 more Americans died from overdoses than in the entire Vietnam War conflict. And yet those new casualties are rarely considered victims of disease. The documentary film “Written Off” is challenging conventional thinking about addiction. By taking the viewer inside an individual’s fight against opioids, through personal journals, Written Off combats stigma and humanizes the victim.The film chronicles the life of Matthew Edwards, a Crandon High School graduate, whose addiction to opioids began at age 15, after being prescribed pain medicine for a minor surgery. His grippingly honest writing reveals the secrets he tried so hard to conceal throughout a decade long struggle to escape addiction. Matthew’s mother, Jane Funk, currently a teacher at Crandon High School, published the book “What I Couldn’t Tell you : one Man’s Struggle with Opioid Addiction” in June of 2017 and worked with filmmakers Molly Hermann and Rob Lyall on the “Written Off” documentary.
“Every day, there’s another story about the opioid epidemic, another overdose, another mug shot. But these stories often work to reinforce the stigma of addiction instead of humanizing it,” explains filmmaker Molly Hermann, who wrote, directed and co-produced Written Off. “Matt didn’t want to do drugs but he didn’t know how to get out. That struggle is right there in his own words, he chronicled every cc and milligram that went into his body and every dollar he shelled out to get more, all as he tried desperately to get clean.” “We know this film is already making a difference – we hear from people who see it that it made them recognize the addiction of a family member for the first time.” says Co-Producer and Director of Photography Rob Lyall.
All students who attend schools in The Northern Lakes Conference (Crandon, Laona, Wabeno, White Lake, Three Lakes, Florence, Goodman/Armstrong Creek, Phelps, Elcho and Pembine) have the opportunity to compete in the Huisman Honors Recital Competition. This event is named after longtime educator and arts supporter Richard Huisman. Richard was a teacher, principal and superintendent for the School District of Wabeno.
The honors recital competition is open to all instrumentalists, as well as vocalists, guitarists, and pianists who have performed a Class A Solo for the 2019 Solo and Ensemble Season. Each student entry must perform the music that they prepared for Solo and Ensemble. Eight to Ten students will be selected to perform at the honors recital. Each student chosen will receive a plaque of merit for being chosen to represent their school and community. One of the students selected to perform will receive a $250+ scholarship.
“When schools and community groups work together, everyone wins,” says Rebel Drama Director Nick J. Lowery. “We’ve gotten a recent donation from The Pride Ride to help with the Spring Musical, and the continued help we receive from the Players is greatly improving the facility in which both our groups perform and many residents of the area can enjoy high quality theatre.”
Wabeno Area Players and Wabeno High School are continuing their community and school partnership to improve the Nancy Volk Auditorium at WHS. With additions, tweaks and maintenance of the lighting and sound systems, they are working on turning the space into a state-of-the-art theatre. It is coming just in time as Rebel Drama’s March 15-17 run of Queen’s We Will Rock You is going to need to utilize every bit of tech the high school tech crew can get their hands on.