Overcoming Obstacles

Despite differences in rehearsals, the Spotlight Players are on track for the upcoming show.


Deairra Williams

The cast does a script read-through for the upcoming show.

With a few weeks of rehearsals out of the way, the Spotlight Players are making progress for the performances of “The Wizard of Oz” despite some challenges that have been thrown in their way, including the absence of director Mrs. Cori Nelson due to surgery.

Mrs. Nelson’s absence wasn’t as big of a setback to rehearsals as one might think it would be, due to prior planning on Mrs. Nelson’s part.

“Before I even knew that I was going on medical leave, we knew we were going to do it a little bit different, because last year, with Addams Family, we kind of had everything mixed together,” Mrs. Nelson said. “It was just difficult for the cast to get in the swing of things because they were learning everything at once.”

Mrs. Nelson and music director Mrs. Elisabeth Baird knew they were going to have to run rehearsals differently in order for them to be more effective for the cast.

“They were going to be working with Mrs. Baird no matter what,” Mrs. Nelson said. “The cast was with her [Mrs. Baird] everyday, learning all their vocals, and now it’s wonderful because they all know their songs.”

For Mrs. Nelson, returning to school and rehearsals and seeing all the progress that has been made and hard work that has been done is inspiring.

“It was really neat to be there at the beginning with the read-through, and then I was gone. To come back and hear them singing was just awesome,” Mrs. Nelson said. “We have so many talented kids, and just to hear them sing those songs that I hadn’t heard them sing before was really nice.”

This show is featuring many new things, including a new crew, the puppet crew. In the show, the puppets are going to be used as munchkins and crows. Senior Tristan Ratterman is the puppet crew head, and he is pleased with how the crew is turning out so far.

“We’ve never done anything like puppets before, and we were faced with an issue,” Ratterman said. “I just threw puppets out there, almost as a joke in the beginning, but then Mrs. Nelson was like ‘We’re doing this.’”

One of the hardest things about this crew was getting people to join it, since no one knew exactly what it would be about.

“When you have new crews, it’s hard to get people interested because they don’t really know what’s to be expected of them,” Ratterman said. “It’s hard to get the word out, but we’re doing great with just five people so far.”

On show nights, the crew won’t be the ones actually handling the puppets. It’s their job to teach the ensemble members how to use the puppets.

“We are there on show nights, just more to make sure the puppets get put back and stay clean,” Ratterman said. “I’m hoping nothing falls apart, and I’m hoping people just get into the motion of things really quick.”

Making the puppets is pretty simple and quick, which is good considering there are only five members of the puppet crew.

“We’re actually working it like an assembly line, where one day we’ll go through and cut all the heads out, one day we’ll go through and spray paint everything,” Ratterman said. “We’re just kind of doing everything one by one.”

The crew is at a good point and working at a good pace for how much time they have left until their April 1 deadline.

“We actually just got all of our supplies in, but we already have all the heads cut out and we’re getting ready to sculpt them, and that’ll be done before you know it,” Ratterman said. “We’re at a pretty good point already. I’m anticipating getting done before April 1.”