Out of the Frying Pan and Onto the Stage

Go backstage with the cast of Out of the Frying Pan

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Siena Griffin

The actors’ headshots decorate their apartment door.

Stepping onto the stage for the first time since the 2020 spring musical, Into the Woods, the theater department returns with the debut of its fall play, Out of the Frying Pan. The play follows six struggling actors—George, Norman, Tony, Kate, Marge, and Dottie—living in one apartment in 1948, and showcases their unconventional effort to try to make it big during a time of financial struggle. 

Zany is the word they would have used,” said director Susan Van Buskirk about the show. “It’s not our sense of humor. It’s big. It’s broad.”

Although the play was written almost a century ago, Van Buskirk hopes that the audience can pick up on the impact it had on popular television shows like the ‘90s sitcom, Friends. “In that sense, it’s a story that people go, ‘Wait, I think I’ve heard this before,’” she said.

Rehearsals began September 28, and since then the theater department worked hard to prepare for opening night on Thursday, November 18.  Out of the Frying Pan is a fast, quirky, and twisted “murder-mystery,” very different from previous plays such as Metaphorphoses (2019), Don’t Drink The Water (2018), and Our Town (2017). Out of the Frying Pan also has one of the smallest casts in recent years. Past plays have averaged around 30 cast members, whereas this year there are only 13 performers. But the small cast did not impact the performance of the actors in any way; Rather, it led to closer friendships amongst students.

According to sophomore Liana Farah, who plays Dottie’s friend Muriel, the cast was able to master their chemistry with their castmates on and off the stage: “We all are really good friends, so we have that chemistry to make the play better.” 

The small cast credits their close bond to joint rehearsals. (Seho Lee)

However, this unique energy on and off stage did not happen overnight; it started with Van Buskirk’s decision to hold full-cast rehearsals. “This play is a farce. It plays very fast. It’s very funny, and it relies on all of them. . . they’ve all got to be able to act as if they are best friends who know each other that well,” said Van Buskirk. “I decided this year from the very beginning we would rehearse everybody together.”  

The apartment set is complete with 1940s decor. (Siena Griffin)

The stage is set up like a New York City apartment, which allows the audience to see these friendships firsthand. “You feel like you’re together with us in the house the whole time,” said junior Zoe Fleury, who plays Marge. The small apartment’s living room is center stage, with open walls that allow the audience to get a better view of the different “rooms.”  

While other characters are center stage, the audience can see the rest of the cast in the background when the spotlight is not on them. “It adds more ‘character’ to the characters since you get to see how they behave outside of the stage,” said junior Shay McGee, Head of Build Crew. 

For the cast of Out of the Frying Pan, most of the excitement stems from returning to the stage and revealing the show to the school for the first time. “We’re really excited to be back,” said junior Joe Gilhooly, who plays George. “Most of our cast actually hasn’t performed a show on our stage yet, and we’re very excited.” 

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  • The set features open walls to allow the audience to see into the apartment’s other rooms.

  • The cast of Out of the Frying Pan.

  • Freshman Erica Young and junior Seho Lee as Dottie and Norman.

  • Behind the scenes of a dress rehearsal.

  • George, played by junior Joe Gilhooly, clings to broadway producer Mr. Arthur Kenny, played by sophomore Roman Gatti.

  • Young and junior Zoe Fleury, who plays Marge.

  • The murder mystery element comes into play.

  • The sound crew lines up at the soundboard in the back of the house.

  • The cast celebrates after completing their first dress rehearsal.

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