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The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Students Should Keep an Open Mind About Menlo Plays

Ella Skinner

Currently, members of the Menlo drama department are working tirelessly to prepare for their production of “Antigone,” which hits the stage from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4. However, the participation numbers for the play are considerably lower than they were for the fall musical of “Something Rotten.” Why is that?

It’s my impression that, when thinking about auditioning, many students are more hesitant to participate in productions they consider boring.

Theater lovers at Menlo seem to favor modern and peppy productions like “Matilda” or “Mean Girls” over older and more slow-paced ones like “Antigone.”

Personally, I think Menlo students should have an open mind to both participating in and attending all types of productions regardless of popularity, as failure to do so limits opportunities for a successful show, fosters inaccurate predispositions and promotes a culture of staying in your comfort zone.

Firstly, a message for aspiring actors: you should try to participate in plays even if you don’t know much about the story, as doing so supports the Menlo drama team as a whole and makes production easier. Many roles are necessary for a play to come to life, including the leads, the chorus and some minor characters that appear a couple times throughout the play. No matter the role, they are essential for a play to work. Often, there is a wide variety of cross-changes — when an actor changes from one costume to another in a short amount of time — that characters must partake in for various scenes. Unfortunately, without enough people, actors are forced to take on more than one role, making cross-changes significantly more complicated. So don’t shy away from participating in a play just because it covers an unknown topic.

When I tried out for “Something Rotten” myself back in the fall, I did not know anything about the plot, roles or expectations of the play and also had no acting experience at all, so I naturally felt a bit awkward and out of place. I was in a new community, the theater community, and I was very unfamiliar with its inner workings. At the same time, though, I wanted to try something new, so I took my chances and decided to try out for the play. I had my apprehensions, especially after hearing stereotypes about “theater kids” and how “weird” they were. However, in joining the play I discovered those stereotypes are completely untrue and made to put down people who expressed themselves differently than others. I ended up having a great time and stepping out of my comfort zone.

Lastly, a message to all Menlo students: holding double standards prevents you from trying new things, which in this case might be both performing and witnessing a new favorite play. As children, we were always told to be adventurous, even if it doesn’t seem appealing. This is especially true for theater, where there are so many possibilities for one to try. At first, you may think that a particular play isn’t appealing and that you won’t enjoy participating or watching. But most often that is simply not true, and how would you know if you’ve never tried it? You could be stopping yourself from having a memorable and rewarding experience. Even if the play might not be your forte, you should try something 16 February 2, 2024 Opinions new first and make judgments later, rather than the other way around. Also, even if you did not like the experience, at least you made an effort; that in itself is an accomplishment.

Overall, I do not agree with the double standards that students put on these plays, as it hampers the chance for everyone to engage in a productive play, imposes unnecessary expectations, and restricts the ability to explore new things. I hope people can get past this barrier to have fun and amazing shows.

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About the Contributor
Aaron Widjaja, Copy Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: My favorite part of CoA is being able to express my views through writing.

Interests outside of school: Playing Lacrosse and spending time with friends

Class of 2026

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