Over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Belmont Hill’s theatre program performed our rendition of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. For the first time at Belmont Hill, the performance was comprised of a live action play and a digital movie footage. The combination of both aspects led to a unique experience for performers as well as the audience.
Ryan Cannistraro (‘21) performed a live depiction of Ponyboy for the entire performance, while other actors performed in scenes that were displayed through the memories of Ponyboy. Aidan McGaugh (‘20) described the audience experience: “The ability to combine both the play and the movie allows for much more creativity in the production. It kept the audience much more engaged because of the difference from scene to scene, and the final product was extremely successful.” The main reason for the combination of the play and movie was due to the lack of actors from the Belmont Hill student body. Only five Belmont Hill students in addition to one Winsor student were willing to commit their time to this production. About the play, Mr. Conway, said, “The Theatre Department realizes that with other obligations finding time to participate in Belmont Hill Theatre can be challenging. Tech rehearsals can be long, and students have a variety of other sports, clubs, and activities that are important to them. The Outsiders was an experiment in how to address these challenges while still producing an effective product. By filming segments of the play, we reduced the need for students to take part in technical rehearsals, and filming sessions could take place with different actors at different times and dates. Thankfully, the structure of the play already included a narrative element that could be easily adapted to this model. We hope that The Outsiders was a unique theatrical experience for its audience and for those students involved.” My personal experience with The Outsiders was incredible, yet, if I had not been encouraged by multiple teachers, I would never have considered acting in the play. Looking ahead, the possibilities of rehearsing during X Block or 2:15 and combinations of screenings and live action plays could provide more students an opportunity to join the drama program. Both of these will lead to much more creativity for the directors and the actors and more opportunities for students to display their talents.