Advanced Drama Showcase

Saagar Sanghavi

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        With the Advanced Drama Showcase coming up this Thursday, Feb. 1st, actors and performers have been hard at work to create what is anticipated to be an incredible experience. Tickets are $5 at the door. The performance serves as a bridge between the Cupertino Actors Theater (CAT) team and the Advanced Drama classes. Featuring a series of short one-acts by Advanced Drama, the event concludes with a longer performance from CAT.

        “I’m excited to see all the different drama classes come together,” said junior Raychel Hatch, an Advanced Drama student. “We’ve only done individual assignments, we’ve never worked together on a huge project like this.”

        The Advanced Drama acts involve variations on a particular scene. Different groups of students take up new roles in each performance.

        “We split off and rehearse our own variations,” said Hatch. “Ms. Conrad also helps us stage the performance.”

        In addition to acting, drama students create costumes, manage sound, and take care of lighting.

        “There’s a lot of research that goes into creating the scene in which the play takes place,” said sophomore Kiyomi Muntz, a stagecraft student who is in charge of lighting. “People bring their own clothes, but we also have clothes in stock. Lighting is pretty straightforward. We also have sound effects that enhance the performance.”

        The longer act from CAT titled “Dr. Superman” highlights the Indian-American experience and is centered around the J1 visa program, which allows doctors to immigrate to the United States to work in underserved communities. Indian couple Arjun and Rashmi Subramanyam, played by Sohan Vichare and Pallavi Rajan, work as doctors in West Virginia. Their child is a victim of hate crime, and the family lives and works in a community that faces an opioid epidemic.

        Many of the performances are entirely student-written. Senior Kayshav Prakash served as the scriptwriter for this piece.

        Said Prakash, “Ms. Conrad asked me to write a 40-50 minute play. It was a writing process—I was supposed to be working on it over a month, but one evening, Ms. Conrad messaged me saying ‘we’re having a read-through tomorrow, right?’ so I went and wrote [the play] in one night. It was a wild, wild night; a fun experience, but stressful.”

        Prakash’s experiences earlier in life inspired him to write this play.

        “I grew up in a really white area of Greater Boston. I had to deal with a lot—I was nicknamed ‘terrorist’, and my brother was nicknamed ‘Allah-tik-tik-boom’—the Islamophobia there was pretty pervasive. We weren’t even Muslim; I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we were Muslim,” said Prakash. “That particular part of Boston was going through a pretty bad heroin epidemic at the time as well. I’ve seen a lot of people I know who live in that area succumb to the epidemic and become addicts. I wanted to combine both racism and drugs because I think there is a lot of intersection there and they are somewhat tied, and it would make for an interesting performance,” Prakash added.

After several weeks of rehersals the students are excited to perform their one acts.

        “I’m looking forward to see a fully polished performance of my script. I’m also excited to see what the younger kids do!” Prakash added.

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