School play begins: get ready, get set, Get Smart!

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The satirical spy television show “Get Smart” will be adapted and put to the SIS stage on Nov. 3-4. The play will be brought to life by both middle and high school students as usual, and the new drama department advisor, John Arthars, will oversee the production of the show, to which he has brought subtle, yet noticeable variations of fundamental elements.

Although the play gets its namesake from the famous 1960s television show, save a few character traits and premise, not much else is similar. The school production follows an incompetent secret agent by the name of Maxwell Smart and his partner, Agent 99, both of whom are tasked on a mission in the days of the espionage-dominant Cold War. The play pokes fun at prevalent issues of the time period, referring to the habits of anti-communist sentiment.

Although recent school productions have been mostly musicals, this year Mr. Arthars has decided to focus on the genre of comedy, thereby giving opportunities of lead roles to those who may be proficient in acting but not necessarily singing. Mr. Arthars notes that the change in the style of theater will bring fundamental differences in the production of the play.

“The angle that we’re trying to go for this play is a comical look at a very serious topic,” said Mr. Arthars. “Previous school productions have all been primarily very somber, but we want to stray away from that this year. ‘Get Smart’ was a television show with slapstick comedy and cleverly placed humor, and we want to create a production that emulates that. Hopefully this year’s production is one that is overall more enjoyable and entertaining.”

Although the department is straying from its musical roots, this does not mean that there will be no musical aspect to the production. This year, SIS’s own jazz ensemble from the club Blue Note will accompany the play. Michael Ganus, Band Director and Head of Music Department, will supervise the ensemble for rehearsal, and strongly affirms that it will play a crucial role in setting the mood of the play.

“We might take it for granted at times, but any kind of theater without music is very boring,” said Mr. Ganus. “Even though this play is not a musical and has therefore significantly less music than previous plays, the music is still important to set the mood and the scene. Especially when you have live musicians as opposed to recorded ones, it’s just a better experience for everyone.”

The lead role of Maxwell Smart will be played by James Park (10). Although James has been part of many previous school productions, he has mostly filled the roles of secondary characters in the past years. This year, he is the theatrical face of the entire cast and crew.

“I have worked with most of my fellow cast members before in various drama productions and I’m incredibly excited to work with them again for this year’s production,” said James, “I’m also delighted to see new faces among the cast and crew joining and realize just how wonderful school productions can be.”

“Get Smart” is not only a way for actors and actresses to express their enthusiasm for drama, but also a medium for students to work together in making one massive production. With the addition of organizations such as Blue Note, a new style of theater, and a refreshed cast and crew, it will likely ensure a flawless cohesion between individuals and systems.

“The cast and crew ranges from as young as 6th graders to as old as 12th graders, but it isn’t hard for us to work cohesively while enjoying ourselves,” said Yoobin Lee (10), the female lead of the play. “Starting from the art department, jazz club, the crew, the cast, to the director himself, there are so many who have worked to make this play possible and I hope the audience enjoys what we put on.”

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