A hysterical return to the stage

Logan McGaheran, Writer/Editor

After over a year of inactivity, the OHS auditorium will open its doors for the 2021 Spring Play: One Man, Two Guvnors. The play is about a man named Francis Henshall who ends up working for two people at the same time while trying to keep the two bosses, or guvnors as they are called in the play, from interacting with each other.

It may seem hard to produce a play during a global pandemic, but the OHS Theatre Department found a way to do it. Director Mr. Erik Eitrheim said, “Doc [Grauberger] had the idea of using a commedia dell’arte piece this year because of its use of masks.” This play not only makes it possible to have a staged performance, but it is also loved by the production company. Junior Julia Christenson, who plays Rachel Crabbe, said, “This show is absolutely hilarious and I love how everyone collaborates together to really bring out the humor.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this production had to take many precautions and make some changes in order to make this show a reality. Mr. Eitrheim said, “Actors have been masked the entire time and have been encouraged to keep six feet apart.” Instead of using a face shield or a medical mask to stop the spread of COVID-19 among the members of the production, commedia dell’arte masks are used. These masks cover the whole face and have certain designs to help the audience identify which actor is playing which character. Senior Samuel Buegler, who plays Francis Henshall, said, “Because we don’t have facial expressions for this show, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my body and physical reactions and also using my voice to heighten that to the next level.”

In a show where the focus is on the individuality of character, how an actor creates their character becomes a lot more important. Buegler said, “I focus on a character and what their base motivations are and then build from there.” Christenson also said, “I look at how my character developed throughout the play as well as her background to really create the character I imagine.”

One Man, Two Guvnors is an excellent show to mark the return of staged productions at OHS. Mr. Eitrheim said, “It is going to be hysterical, it is a really funny show and I think it will be fun.” Buegler also said, “People should watch it because it’s good and we’ve performed it very well. The show is really funny and you’ll laugh a lot.”

Performances for One Man, Two Guvnors are on Thursday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, April 24 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the OHS auditorium. Admission is $5 for students, $7 for adults and $10 for the livestream. Tickets are available here.