Behind The Curtain: Preparing for the Fall Show Clue


The Clue Cast participates in a read-through of the script. Photo courtesy- Ioannes Salamanes.

Seven suspects, six weapons, five bodies. The popular murder mystery board game, Clue, hits the Wilcox stage this December. Clue is a thrilling and hilarious murder mystery adapted for the stage by writer and actress Sandy Rustin. But how does our production class prepare for such a show? What actually goes into putting on a production? A student-run class organizes props, costumes, sets, publicity, lights, and sound in a matter of months to prepare for the final performances on December 2nd and 3rd. 

Each component of a show is organized by a team of students with one lead and about eight members. “The process is long and hard.” Stage Manager River Matayas revealed. “Making a show is hard because there’s so many moving parts and personalities and people, it can be overwhelming.” At the beginning of a show, during auditions and first rehearsals, the teams prepare plans for projects and work to meet deadlines. 

The first step for the sets team is to create a design for the stage. As of September 2022, they’re in the process of building and painting the smaller pieces. “I’m working on designs for the door signs,” said junior Melissa Tran, “We are sketching them right now but once we’re finished we can cut and paint them.” The larger builds are completed later on with the help of team members and volunteers. “My favorite part of the class is building stuff since we get to be creative and design things!” said senior Madeline Debbage.

The costumes team begins with brainstorming and creating sketches for each character’s costume. They draw inspiration from mood boards and fashion collections. “Currently we’re doing finalized sketches for Jo, our supervisor, to make the costumes. We love Jo!” says sophomore Belen Le Ray. “Mrs. White’s costume, the one I designed, is inspired by the Dior 1953/54 collection.”. The costumes team has a meeting to choose which designs they will actually use in the show. The team lead, Savannah Green, said their favorite part of working on the costumes is the creativity. “I adore adding little details for the audience to find. I also love making sure our team and cast are feeling like their best selves on stage!”

The lights and sounds team is responsible for many of the show’s technical aspects. They control the colors and spotlights that set a tone for the show. “I’m currently working on writing up light and sound cue sheets so that the tech aspects run smoothly.” said junior Logan Lim. In this fall production of Clue the lights and sounds team will use effects to create a dark tone to convey the show’s mysterious aspects as well as adding in quick sounds and bright lights to lift the mood and bring a comedic feeling.

The props team works to gather each and every handheld item mentioned in the script. They begin by assembling a list after reading the script over many times to ensure they catch each piece needed. Once this list is created, the members of the props team check each item and list for what they already have, what they need to buy, and what they can make. A Google Form of the props still needed is sent out to the cast and each item is checked off as it is brought in.

The publicity team works on promoting and drawing attention to the show. You might have seen posters around the school featuring audition information and Customink, a website that allows school groups and sports teams to upload a design and print it onto t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies. This year’s design was created by senior Kamille Bernardino. Publicity is a vital part of the Theater Productions Class and the responsibility of not only the team, but the entire class. Everybody is asked to do their part and advertise the show to the school. The class puts in a lot of effort to make these productions happen, and want as many people as possible to watch and know about it. 

The five teams rely on each other to bring a show to the stage. Communication is extremely important in a class like theater. “I love when all the teams get to work together and the show actually becomes one.” stated Tech Director Cy Mecili. Each role in the show is vitally important and affects the outcome of the production.  “People should come see the show because it is genuinely so entertaining,” said Savannah Green. “Everyone is working to give the audience an amazing time through laughs and gasps and drama. All our teams put in tons of work and it definitely shows when you come see it.”