The Theatre IV class at Yorktown High School has been busy ever since the beginning of their senior year working on their fall production, “Fear Itself.” During the first couple weeks of school the class decided on performing a play written by one student during the summer, eventually adapted for the time constraints and stylistic choices. The class immediately began reworking the piece. It was first changed from an absurdist comedy to an absurdist drama and then into a dream piece. Other significant changes were discussed and agreed upon by the class such as changing the main character from an Archibald to an Andrea.
Once there was general consensus on the type of play, the real work began. Over the course of several weeks the original script was divided into small groups. Each group discussed their section and created an improvisation on how it could be worked. All the groups then came together and presented to the class. Overnight the student directors and writers would go home and write a script based on these improvisations. Thus the new script was slowly created scene by scene. Then several assistant directors/writers edited the collection of scenes to create a uniform piece. The statement of this piece was ultimately determined to be “Fear clouds judgment, but can be overcome.”
Even after this script was written and roles in the production were assigned, the work was not over. The cast and student directors are constantly revisiting the script, questioning justifications for motives, and finding ways to express the message they are trying to convey. Having a continually changing script has left the door open so the cast can continue to work on and improve the piece. Despite all of this ongoing work the class sincerely agrees that it’s worth it. This final class production is truly a culmination of all the work we theatre students have done over the past four years. We have had to use all of our theatre knowledge to write an original script, develop our own characters, and even do some directing and stage managing. It’s senior year for all of us and thus our last opportunity to come together as a class to create our own production, and everyone agrees that it’s a great feeling to know that the play we are going to present is a true representation of all of our personal skills and passions.
The play itself focuses on the internal struggles of the main character, Andrea. Born into a wealthy, politically influential family, she has lived a sheltered existence for most of her life. During the piece she deals through the creation of an internal nightmarish world. Remembering is the main action of the play. The events flow between the abstract and surreal of a dream, intensifying and personifying her fears. In this way the play is, by its nature, an absurdist drama, reflecting not a series of true events portrayed in a realistic way, but rather the abstract conflict of ideas and emotions.