Fall play brings opportunity for theater department return to former glory

Olivia Bocchieri, Podcast Editor

The theater department’s fall production of “She Kills Monsters” is set to debut on November 3, giving Pancho Morris, the school’s new drama teacher, only two months to put together the performance. 

The play, written by Qui Nguyen, features coming-of-age themes surrounding identity, loss, and community, all while “embracing the changes that come with unexpected tragedy,” Morris said.

This year, the audition process for the production is a little different. Nadia Rodin, a student who took part in last year’s “Sense and Sensibility” and “Radium Girls,” said actors are now required to prepare a solo monologue ahead of time. Last year, actors were given monologues and small scenes during the audition and had five minutes to prepare with a partner.

Once auditions end and roles are set, rehearsals will begin which, for fall productions, are a process lasting eight weeks. This time gives actors and crew the chance to develop their characters and to “do it all competently,” Morris said. 

Photo by Olivia Bocchieri

While learning lines and cues, rehearsing the blocking, building a stage, and designing the lights and sound are all vital to a good show, none of it is possible without creating a strong sense of community and friendship irreplaceable aspects of theater and acting. 

Being part of a community that makes something from nothing and leaves the audience going, ‘Wow’: I live for that,” Morris said. “Acting makes you feel more alive than real life can feel sometimes.” 

But for Morris, the upcoming play represents more than just his first production as the school’s theater director. Morris said “She Kills Monsters” is his first opportunity of the year to get the theater department back to its former glory like it was when he was a student actor at the school. 

According to Morris, there are fewer actors in the school’s acting class than ever before, a problem he fully intends to overcome.

“When I was a student here, the theater program was vibrant and healthy. We had at least three classes, sometimes more,” Morris said. “By giving MVHS a show worth watching, I hope that MVHS Theater becomes a staple of the culture here. I want people to say, ‘I graduated from Mountain View High School’s theater program’ and for it to mean something.”