Frog & Toad proves challenging but enjoyable process for cast and crew

 

While theatre productions may seem to run without a hitch to the audience, they are a different experience for those who spend weeks or months putting them together. Actors and crew members battle against time constraints, line memorization, music, dancing, and stage direction to create a different world for the audience to experience.

The joyful Frog, played by Trisha Landis, and the ill-tempered Toad, played by Zachary Hawbaker, slide together.  (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

This semester’s production, A Year with Frog and Toad, was written by Arnold Lobel and based on books by Willie Reale. It follows a joyful Frog and ill-tempered Toad through a year of adventures with friends.

The director of Frog and Toad is 2007 alumni Emily Hisey, who herself was involved in the theatre program. This is her first full length show as a director, and she has greatly enjoyed the process.

The cast of Frog and Toad includes only nine members, and all but two of those members have more than one role.

“I really like the cast,” Hisey said. “They’re all such lovely people, and it’s nice to have kind of a smaller cast, just because we can get to know each other a little bit better.”

Among many benefits, each production the theatre puts on comes with its hardships.

The biggest challenge Hisey said was “putting everything together—singing, choreography, blocking.” She added, “Josh has been a huge help.”

Senior zoo and wildlife biology major Joshua Setty is the stage manager for Frog and Toad. Setty expressed similar enthusiasm toward the show and cast in spite of the challenges they face. Another main challenge has been helping actors memorize their lines, according to Setty.

Despise such a small cast and crew, Frog and Toad has overcome many difficulties in theatre. (Photo by Autumn Berry)

“A lot of times the actors like to paraphrase, because they know what they’re saying,” Setty said. “As a stage manager you have to keep reminding them that they actually have lines that are written down, and we can get in trouble if you don’t say those lines.”

Setty has been in the cast of many shows throughout his years at Malone, but being the stage manager, he said, has unique rewards.

“One thing it really does is it helps with leadership, and it just helps build your confidence,” Setty said. “You’re kind of in the same boat as everybody else who’s here, so nobody’s really judgmental.”

Leadership proved to be a valuable quality for Setty, as he prepares for larger responsibilities within his role.

“Eventually the stage manager takes over the position of the director. The stage manager actually ends up running the show completely by him or herself about a week and a half before the show starts.”

Sophomore art major Marie Davison is acting in her first musical at Malone as Turtle and Mole 2. She described one of her characters, Turtle, as “sassy,” and said she is “always running around, or talking, or dancing, or singing.”

“I never expected how involved the music is,” Davison said. “For the first month all I had was music rehearsals. We would go in and basically sing with Brent [music director] for two hours.”

With regards to the actual story of Frog and Toad, rumors have floated around campus about the end of the show which, according to Davison, “[Emily] wants… to be a surprise to everyone.”

As a whole, the cast and crew are eager to share the work they have been doing and the delight of Frog and Toad. Davison said, “I think that overall, it’s really been fun.”

A Year with Frog and Toad runs Nov. 7 through 10 and 14 through 17.

Allison Hammerle is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.

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