Seniors Eleanor Schiffler and Hayley Pike make their directorial debut
Puma Press: Tell us a little about “The Fantasticks.” How and why did you choose this particular musical to produce?
Hayley Pike: “The Fantasticks” is basically a parody of “Romeo and Juliet,” it’s a romantic comedy. It’s a small production so it’s easy to do as a student production but it still has great music and the story’s really funny.
Eleanor Schiffler: “We wanted a small cast musical, and it has a lot of magical realism which we liked.”
Puma Press: Are you taking any artistic license compared to the original show?
Hayley Pike: “The show was written in the ‘60s [so] we want to update it to the modern era because it is a bit dated.”
Eleanor Schiffler: “There’s a lot of politically incorrect lines and some gender roles that we’re not a big fan of, so we will be changing that so it’s a little more empowering.”
Puma Press: What is the process for putting on a student-produced musical?
Hayley Pike: “We have to block the scenes, have the actors learn the music and script. We have to design the set, and we have to work with the [student] tech directors.
Eleanor Schiffler: “So basically, we do everything. We got the script and then I’m the artistic director and Hayley is the musical director.”
Puma Press: What do you look for in a potential actor or actress?
Hayley Pike: “We look for enthusiasm [and] technical talent but also the chemistry with the other actors and with the directors.”
Eleanor Schiffler: “And willingness to do things that are weird. We like it when people are weirder.”
Puma Press: How do you promote cast bonding and teamwork?
Eleanor Schiffler: “We mostly just play games—improv games, and singing games. We’re starting a tradition during our warm up where we sing “Love Story” every day.”
Hayley Pike: “Max Rossbach and Eleanor were like “We want to sing Taylor Swift!” So it happened.”
Puma Press: You’re both veterans of the U Prep theater program. So far, how does producing a musical differ from being in one?
Eleanor Schiffler: “It’s much harder [to produce a show], much more work, and a lot more time so far. [But] I have really enjoyed this process. It’s a lot more of my own and Hayley’s and we can do what we want with it a lot more.”
Hayley Pike: “I think it’s going to be fun seeing the concept that we have coming into reality.”
Puma Press: Do you feel like the arts are adequately recognized at U Prep?
Hayley Pike: “I wish it were more prominent in the rest of the school. Like there’s more to the music community than Music Day. There’s some incredibly talented people in the school as long as you take the effort to go out and find the events that are happening.”
Puma Press: What are you worried about for the show?
Eleanor Schiffler: “I’ve never directed before [so] it’s hard for me to be like “I’m the leader, I know what to do.” [And] Hayley has to learn the entire show musically.”
Hayley Pike: “And I have to organize instrumentation. And I have to be Mr. Blok—which… How can I live up to Mr. Blok’s magnificence?”
Puma Press: What words of wisdom do you have for people who want to get involved in theater?
Eleanor Schiffler: “I would just go for it. There’s a lot that you can get out of it, and you can learn a lot about yourself.
Hayley Pike: “If you are even considering doing theater that means that you’re of a different breed than most people in the world. Theater is incredibly rewarding… You’ll feel the effects of theater longer than you’ll feel the effects of any other extracurricular.
By Emma Kellogg