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Veronika Golod

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With “The Play’s The Thing” opening at last, students in the Wayland High School Theater Ensemble have been staying late after school for weeks on end. They rehearse a mash-up between William Shakespeare’s plays “Hamlet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which will be the last play drama teacher Richard Weingartner directs at WHS before retiring.

Auditions for the “The Play’s The Thing” were held at the end of February. Students heard back about their assigned roles shortly after.

“Auditions were very scary for me the first time going around,” senior Max Adelman said. “I slowly became more comfortable as time went on, but it was definitely a completely different experience or process than I was used to.”

Auditions for the play somewhat overlapped with Senior Show rehearsals, which made practices rather difficult to manage for some.

“I felt a bit off [during auditions] because I didn’t know how the mash up [of the play] worked, and hadn’t read ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in a while, but overall it was his typical audition process,” senior Andrea Ponce said.

Weingartner’s rehearsals are known to be intense and strict, but students enjoy the process of the rehearsing, even though it may be exhausting at times.

“Rehearsals are very demanding,” Adelman said. “We have to keep repeating scenes over and over again.”

Rehearsals are, in the end, rewarding, according to students.

“The process is bittersweet because once you get that scene down, it feels so good!” Adelman said.

“It always feels like it goes from zero to 100,” Ponce said, “it always shocks me when we near opening night to how far the cast has come, as in I can’t remember how all the scenes came together but they have.”

The spring play will be Weingartner’s last work at WHS, as he is retiring in June.

“Honestly, the commitment in the last four years have been demanding, but the same goes for any activity one sets their mind to. [I]must say my favorite rehearsals are these, because it feels less strenuous but more, how can I improve the product I have been building?” Ponce said. “I’ve been involved in each of his last productions for the past 4 years, so this feels like the end of a chapter in my life, and in a way, it’s nice, as though we are leaving high school together.”

“It really is sad being his last show,” Adelman said. “Although this is my first show, I’ve always heard stories and talked with him a lot outside of his classes and productions.”

His students say they’re sad to see him go, but are glad they got to witness a “legend.”

“He’s definitely made his mark on this school, and it’ll be sad to see him go,” Adelman said, “I’m hopeful for future actors to keep an open mind on the new director as he/she tries to fill the big boots that are to fill after the legend Richard Weingartner.”

As far as “The Play’s The Thing” goes, WHSTE’s actors strongly encourage members of the community to come and see the Shakespeare mash-up.

“I believe for anyone who has been forced to Sparknote through Shakespeare this will really bring to life the characters in a new light and finally bring understanding to the complicated text,” Ponce said.

“It is a comedy with a tragic ending,” Adelman said, “That’s all I can say about it.”

“The Play’s The Thing” runs April 27, 28, and 29 in the WHS auditorium.

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