Some talents are given, some we are born with, and others are made. Steinbrenner High School’s drama department possesses all three. The drama department’s most recent play, Wolf Child, is the product of these students’ hard work under Mrs. Painter’s guidance.
The play (featured as a one act, though it’s essentially lengthier) is about a human named Joseph who was raised by wolves but then brought into civilization and taught to be a human. Senior McCoy Johnston took on the role of this protagonist, and had to take certain measures to adapt his character’s mannerisms.
“After I was cast as Joseph we took a walk around the school in character… I had to try and figure out how to walk up stairs and open doors, and I also played with my dog,” said Johnston.
The show took on several humorous moments as Joseph attempts to sit in a chair, walk, and eat as if he’s never done it before, or at least not as a human. However, the show took on a more serious tone as Joseph bonds with Julia (junior Caroline Meisner), the daughter of the parents who have taken him in. Near the end, wolf boy and lover are forced to part as her parents send her away in fear of the “effect” she is having on Joseph.
Only a handful students with lines were casted (Johnston, Meisner, senior Jon-Paul Schaut, senior Rachel Evans and junior Nick Petrucelli) but the entire cast was essential to making the play a living masterpiece. Wolf Child featured dancers, a cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You”, a narrator, and an unforgettable story line. Petrucelli served as the voice-over of Joseph’s thoughts; a sort of future Joseph who still is “different”, but less canine.
“All the characters that had lines clicked and came into character quickly. The energy was so high, it was crazy; they all took their notes very well and connected with their characters. [They] got into it,” said Johnston. Each cast member that didn’t have a definite role in the play had elaborate costumes made to look like wolf/child hybrids and moved the set pieces periodically to change scenes, even taking the liberty of moving like wolves. No detail was missed as Wolf Child became not just a play but a symbol for the theatre department, as well as an emblem of their hard work.
“We started working on the play two weeks before Thanksgiving break and before break the cast and script was released for us to memorize on our own time,” said Meisner.
Wolf child Johnston also faced some difficulties in expressing himself onstage without the use of his voice, but rather, facial expressions. “It’s hard to act that out because I’m not using my voice, and that’s how we communicate, how we portray things, with our voices,” said Johnston. “It was different: I had to use my actions.”
Mrs. Painter gave audiences a chance to express their thoughts on the play last Wednesday, December 11th, when the play opened during school. “I really like when Mrs. Painter allows the audience to give us feedback,” said Meisner. “It gives us a point of view from someone who doesn’t already know the story.”
Through the ideas of Mrs. Painter, the skills of the students, and powerful performances, Wolf Child was quite a show. Although there may have been unexpected turns and challenges the center stage team overcame them. The play went on to perform at One Acts, a three day event at USF, where they earned 9 trophies. Out of the 25 plays, Steinbrenner was among the top five.
The drama department will be taking Wolf Child to the state festival in March. Undefeated since the school opened, we can expect great things from them.
Logan Conrad/Staff Writer