Five, Six, Seven, Eight: Wilcox Theatre Back on Stage!

Tuna+Fish+stars%2C+Ioannes+Salamanes+and+Sam+Mediodia%2C+carefully+listen+to+critic+by+student+director%2C+Melody+Ng

Courtesy of Kamille Bernandino.

“Tuna Fish” stars, Ioannes Salamanes and Sam Mediodia, carefully listen to critic by student director, Melody Ng

Samantha Mediodia

After two years of being off the main stage, the Wilcox Stage Company (WSC) is proud and excited to be back under the bright lights. Both comedic and tragic — Not Completely Hopeless is a student-directed show by senior Melody Ng, inclusive of short scenes, dances, live music, and the starring one act, Our Place. At its heart, Not Completely Hopeless is an unapologetically authentic experience based around the idea of love and human connection with anecdotes of both romantic and familial relationships between a wide variety of characters. 

Like any other, the show was preceded by two audition days, both of which proved to be as thrilling as well as overwhelming. Due to the global pandemic and consequently, the lack of theatre, the high number of auditionees was shocking to the theatre crew. Lead Stage Manager and senior Catalina Ramirez focuses on the impacts of distance learning, saying, “I know it’s harder for people to put themselves out there. It was interesting to see the new talents and it was hard to pick between these new actors and dancers.”

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Spring Musical, Mamma Mia! — the constant worry that WSC would get shut down once again was severely highlighted as the audition process came around. As school slowly translated to an online setting, the reality of seeing Mamma Mia! on stage was made obvious — its birth simply was not possible. After finishing blocking and choreographing the entirety of the musical, the department fought long and hard to keep the show going, but eventually let matters rest when it was realized the lockdown would continue indefinitely. In a more personal anecdote, Production Teacher, Ms. Claire Robson, vocalizes her despondency about the original cast, saying, “We had several very talented seniors and juniors who worked very hard to make the show possible and never saw it come to fruition. It was a huge disappointment.” As they rely on productions to fundraise for both on and off stage recruiting and training, WSC was left severely disheartened and in disbelief, and are currently striving to make financial amends within the department. 

In spite of the lost time to make up for, actors, dancers, and managers alike showcase their gratitude for the sort of “reset” they were granted. With opening day sneaking up on WSC, everyone has been working hard, the feat of how quickly time flies when you’re putting on a show taking over. This specific fact has been greatly emphasized in the sets department, led by senior Val Oceguera. Excited for the show, Oceguera reminisces on a harsher time in regards to the finalization of set pieces of Mamma Mia! — the walls that dripped of Greek culture, the iconic staircase, and the revolving bed — all hard work that was left in the scene shop that devastatingly went down the drain, awaiting disassembly and never to be seen by the public. As of now, they continue to dish about the current happenings within the department while building and painting new set designs for Not Completely Hopeless. “Time is of the essence, but it doesn’t stop us from enjoying what we do, and getting to present our project to the public will be very satisfying. I’ve always enjoyed the emotion we can pull from the audience,” Oceguera teases, inviting all to check out their work at the November Premiere!

As for the main-stage, dancers and actors alike kickstarted rehearsal in early October — dances, which are choreographed by vibrant juniors Jaiden Petros and Advaitha Ekkirala, alluding playful hints of hit classics Grease and Hairspray and scenes, brief but intimate, tease the deeper idea that love holds the twisted magic to unite simple strangers. Of course, there is a lot of “behind-the-scenes” action going on, but who would I be to spoil that for you?

Bursting at the seams with a cozy melancholia, Not Completely Hopeless brings forward an impenetrable desire of communal belonging and is set to premiere at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts on November 12, 2021 at 7:00 PM, continuing until the 13th. With tickets available at only $8, Wilcox Stage welcomes all — excitedly anticipating performing in front of the very crowd that makes Theatre the tight-knit coterie it is.