My Experience with The Fall of the House Of Usher

My+Experience+with+The+Fall+of+the+House+Of+Usher

by Peter Palma and

 

“I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be buried alive.”

 

I’ve wanted to perform on Springbrook’s stage ever since I saw my older sister act back in 2014. Following her footsteps, I joined the drama club freshman year, which was held virtually. I’m content with how far we have come since then and everything we’ve accomplished. Coming back in person, countering COVID by holding the plays in the courtyard last year, and moving the play back inside the auditorium for this school year. The club has been through many ups and downs, but we are making a comeback! I’ve received many new experiences and made many new friends from drama club. Our last play was amazing. Costumes, lights, acting and so much more–all were stunning.

 

Edgar Allan Poe was a remarkable writer and poet, most known for his works “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Another famous piece is “The Fall of the House of Usher” which was adapted by Tim Kelly and put into a play of two acts. This tale takes the topics of disease, the fear of death, and premature burial as it leads us through the tragic life of Roderick Usher. We see the events that take place at the house of Usher which is occupied by the remaining two members of the family. They have already been broken by the traumatic events of the past, cursed with illness, and eventually pass away. Ending the bloodline of the Ushers as the house falls to pieces.

 

I truly enjoyed the making of this play. I had received the role of Doctor Fortunato and while reading over the lines for the first time, I knew this character would not be the most fun to play, as he is very serious and speaks a lot, but I still gave the most effort I could since every part is important in a play. It took me several weeks to get the lines down, and finding ways to portray emotions through this role was another challenge. The director, Nancy Blum, gave significant assistance by helping everyone uncover their character and provided extra meanings for certain lines/scenes. I believe that this helped a lot and really tied in some storylines together. One example of this would be my character, the Doctor, who interacts with the Maid. He talks to her with a sense of superiority. He believes that he is better than a maid because his work is more important and that he is far more necessary to the Ushers. The cast has an essential role of remembering lines and cues, but what’s most crucial is that the story is presented. This means that lines must be clear and spoken with emotion; if someone messes up, the show must go on.

 

Another vital part of creating a play is what happens in the background. Everything that transpires before the play, as well as behind the scenes, is just as noteworthy as everything that is occurring on stage. Our technical director, Kat Pong, finds the best ways to create a community within the drama club and always discovers ways to get the job done. One of the biggest pieces that were made during the fall was the coffin that Roderick’s sister, Madelaine, gets buried in. Belly Alarcon, who portrayed the role of Madelaine, says, “I really enjoyed being in the coffin. At first, I wasn’t too sure about it since I am claustrophobic, but they were able to make the coffin a bit bigger just so I didn’t actually feel trapped like Madelaine did.” The crew members are able to cooperate with the cast, revealing how considerate they are to the wants and needs of the cast and how hard they work to ensure everyone’s convenience.

 

One major part of the drama club is the community that is created within the club. It is very welcoming and everyone is accepted. Without this connectedness, a play cannot be made. The cast and crew have to work together in order for a show to run. This was Bellcy’s first production, she states, “Personally, I felt really welcomed during the production, which made everything easier for me. I knew that if I was having trouble with something I could always ask for help.” This shows that new people are welcome, no matter what grade you’re in! And everyone is always willing to give a helping hand. This is one of the many things I adore about drama club, along with the way you are able to fit in one way or another.

 

As mentioned before, Springrook’s drama club has come a long way since the pandemic. Nathaniel Unnikumaran, who portrayed the role of Stranger, has participated in a number of plays since his freshman year at Springbrook. He comments “I was happy to finally do a play inside after 3 years, and that the production went well despite us having a little less people, and that I enjoyed that we did a play that had a more dark theme.” I agree with every word he said. I am used to a little broader cast sizes but I am so glad to be able to perform inside and that we were able to put on a more eerie production (compared to The Three Musketeers and The Never Ending Curtain Call from last year). One thing that I thought may be confusing was the story within a play concept. The original “The Fall of the House of Usher” tale includes a very minimal amount of characters, but the play includes a tavern full of many new roles. The audience meets the tavern scene first, where the story starts getting told. This is where the play switches between realms and goes into the actual tale. Narrated by Stranger, this play switches back and forth between both realms to tell the story of Roderick Usher along with the story of the tavern, which is called “The Raven.” The audience would need to pay attention to understand what is going on, but either way, they laughed at the comedic relief and gasped at the blood-curdling screams. (Props to the lighting crew for flashing the stage with red lights every time someone screamed, which made it magnificently better.)

 

All in all, this year’s production brought many new people into my life along with perspectives on life itself. I’m glad it turned out the way it did and for all the hard work everyone put into the show. I know that a majority of the student body didn’t know about the play, but I’m hoping for a bigger turnout for our upcoming musical, Legally Blond. If anyone is contemplating on joining a club or not, know that drama club will find a place for all! Drama club has provided me with unique and crazy experiences that I will never forget or find anywhere else.