It’s a Wonderful Time for the Midnight Players

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The Midnight Players are putting on their production of It’s a Wonderful Life starting November 29th through December 1st. Starring first-time actor, senior Luke Lightcap, as their lead in the play,  drama director Nathaniel Gordon says that audiences can expect to see the same classic story that they are used to, but with a new twist.

“If you know the story, then it’s basically the same, but the characters are slightly different because of our interpretations of them.” says Gordon. He expects that viewers will leave the theater with a “better perspective” than before.

This year, 46 students auditioned for the fall play. Gordon says this was more than he expected based off of the usual turnout of just over thirty students. This year, there were a lot of new faces and underclassmen that auditioned for larger roles. Usually, it is the upperclassmen that become involved with the Midnight Players because they want to be involved in with their peers, but this year, Gordon says he saw a surge of underclassman auditions. He attributes this high interest to the fact that It’s a Wonderful Life  is a family classic viewed by many every Christmas.

The students and the director agree the the play is coming along very well. Actors have their lines memorized, the characters are coming together, and the sets resembling the original monochromatic version of the movie are almost done.

“I think the audience will love the amazing sets and lighting, as well as the chemistry between all the characters in the cast” says senior Aidan Auel, who will be portraying Uncle Billy in the show.

Anthony Fuster, a senior portraying Clarence Odbody, reflected on his time rehearsing for the play, saying that his favorite part of the process is the comradery he shares with his cast mates. He believes being in the play gives him a chance to be able to get comfortable and confident in front of a room full of people.

When Gordon cast the roles, he looked for auditions that showed that a student had put a lot of effort and research into finding out more about the character. He wanted to find students who he knew looked at more than just the lines he provided so he could find the best actor for that particular character. Gordon noted that typically upperclassmen are able to gain more experience with acting, which gives them the ability to gain the leading roles more easily.

“More experience helps build a more solid audition” says Gordon.However, he also acknowledges that an incoming freshmen or a first timer could have just as much experience and be as prepared for the role.

The deciding factor for him is if the the version of the character that the student is providing him with matches what he envisioned.

For this play, he searched for students who provided a side of a character that he has not seen before – a certain edge that the actor portrayed. Though Lightcap acted in middle school and had considered trying out for the Midnight Players in previous years, he has not auditioned until this year, thanks to the encouragement of a friend. He earned the lead with his first audition.

“Much to my excitement and surprise, I got cast as George Bailey, the lead role in the play. It was an ecstatic moment when I found out,” says Lightcap.

Lightcap says that he originally auditioned for the role of Mr Potter, a grouchy old business man. He knew the importance of getting inside the character’s mind and understanding everything there is about him, so he made sure to watch movie scenes featuring Potter to look for inspiration and any mannerisms that he could portray when he auditioned for the character. But when Gordon saw Lightcap’s audition, he had a different plan in mind.

“He gave me a side of character that was closer to what I was looking for… but at the same time there was that raw edge to it that I thought was appealing,” said Gordon.

For Lightcap, this was very exciting news. He has been working hard to portray George Bailey the right way.

“This story holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and has some very powerful scenes so I really want to make sure I do the film and my character justice,” said Lightcap.

The cast and crew members are gearing up for their first performance of It’s a Wonderful Life on November 29th.