the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Alice Tao ‘24
Images Credit: Seshu Photography
How do you feel about bringing back the play after two years?
Mr. Rasheed: I am so happy that theatre, in general, is opening up. There are many productions that are back in play in New York and regionally. I was able to get to NYC myself over the long weekend. That being said, I am very excited to open our doors again in the Werner Centennial Center. It was nice to see people in the audience during the parents weekend concert. It’s going to be very exciting to see people back in the space to watch theatre again.
Why did you choose “Noises Off” over other plays?
Mr. Rasheed: "Noises Off" was my third choice I believe. In two plays that I wanted to do, the rights were not available, so "Noises Off" became the default. It’s a fun play; it’s very physical and funny. I wanted to do a fun play and not anything heavy. The last play that we had in the theatre when we were open was a heavy play, so I wanted to do something light and fun for our audience and also for students participating.
What is the most challenging part of bringing this play to life?
Mr. Rasheed: One of the most difficult things was the lines. There are a lot of lines, and the cues were hard for some. Many of the words are responses like “Oh,” “Alright,” “Sure” and you don’t know when to say those or how to respond sometimes without something concrete to lead you into the next phase of the conversation. So, getting a flow of memorizing the lines and being able to play them was one of the most difficult things. Also, it’s a very physical show! There is a lot of running around. I should have taken the actors out for 15-20 minutes of laps before getting them ready for the physicality that’s up there, but they are handling it well. They are running up and down stairs, running in and out of doors. It looks like a lot of fun, but it’s a workout.
Can you talk a little bit about the rehearsal process?
Mr. Rasheed: This is really an ensemble play. I’m usually able to split the time with actors, like I’ll see one person for 30 minutes and I’ll see someone else for 30 minutes, etc. But with this one, it’s all hands on deck. Everyone was pretty much called all the time. We broke that up with different schedules. Sometimes we wouldn’t go the whole afternoon; sometimes we would rehearse a little in the afternoon and a little in the evening. We go about 10-15 pages per rehearsal session. The expectation is that after we’ve blocked that 10-15 pages, actors would memorize what we worked on. The faster they memorize, the easier it is to fill the role and all of the other business for the character. So I rehearse things in chunks.
How do you want this play to be perceived by the community?
Mr. Rasheed: I want people to have a good time. It’s been a tough two years, and I want people to be able to come into the theatre and just relax and enjoy the work that our technical team has done — they built a fantastic set and provided great lighting, and live mic mixing. I love my stage management team. The actors are just having a good time up there. And when they are having a good time, I think everyone that comes in will be able to relax and have a good time, too. Take a little under two hours out of your life, sit down to enjoy this production.