The Black Box’s newest show, behind the curtain.
BY THEA POSTALAKIS ’24
The classic murder mystery play Clue was performed by UAHS students in the Black Box theatre on November 4, 5 and 6 this year.
The Black Box theater is known for doing smaller shows, such as the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which was performed last year. Clue, with its 17-person cast, perfectly fits this standard.
The show is a comedic take on the murder-mystery movie based on the board game Clue.
Director Greg Varner noted how Clue differs from past shows in that students have more control over their characters.
“One of the conversations I had early on with the cast is when you’re looking at the stage directions for the printed script, you can ignore that because you’ll decide how we’re going to do things,” he said. “That’s what gives so much authority to the students who are in the show.”
As well as giving students more authority, Clue opened up a new wave of audience reactions.
“It’s just nice to go to a show where you can laugh and it’s very funny. And the kids are really finding the places to underscore that humor. If you have a show where you can go to enjoy yourself — we need more of that,” Varner said.
Comedy was a main part of this show and allowed many students to expand their genres of acting.
“Comedy is a whole new level of challenge for students. My goal this year was to really up our game, give them authority over what they’re doing, and give them a challenge to do more than just phone it in,” Varner said.
The central part of this show is the set. The show was told in a proscenium: the audience is on one side, and they are facing toward the set. While that is more typical, there are still some surprises in the set design that were seen later.
“[The set] is something they’ve never done before, and it’s really new,” junior Michelle Fernandez, who played Ms. Green, said.
Marcus Black, who was the assistant stage manager and also helped manage the run crew for the show, commented on how the plot of Clue fits into the set.
“Clue has a lot of different rooms in it. And with those different rooms, we needed a way to make them all work on stage. So some of our sets right now are on wheels and we can change them out in between scenes,” he said.
The elaborateness of the set also adds to the plot points.
“The ultimate goal is to make the audience feel that there really are multiple different rooms all just contained within the box,” Black said.
The run crew for this show is a group of six people, who have the role of moving all the sets, and helping getting props off of the stage.
“Theres a few very quick changes right towards the end of the show, like room changes that I think will look really good. The goal is really just for the audience to forget that we even have a run crew behind the scenes doing everything,” Black said.
This dynamic of a set, however, will affect the actors as well.
“My role is very active. I have to move around a lot. I have to fall down a lot. And so having a set there is both really fun to know how you’re going to move and be able to plan that out, but also just really different because rather than having theater take over and have it be left up to the imagination.., having this literal of a set is really different,” senior Azrael Hudson, who played Wadsworth, the lead, said.
“It’s an incredibly intricate show. The tech crew is doing a lot. Hitting all of the scene transitions — there’s definitely some growing pains with it, but I think by the time we have our shows, I think it will be tremendous,” Hudson said.