The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



For the First Time in Forever Understudies are Making Their Way into the SLOHS Theater Company


The “Noises Off” rehearsals with the main cast are intense and productive. Photo courtesy of Tessa Roos.

  For the first time ever, San Luis Obispo High School theater will be incorporating understudies into their cast. Understudies are actors who learn a counterpart’s role in order to go on in case of an emergency.

  “As an understudy, we are assigned a role of a character in the show to be a backup for. We go to all rehearsals, take notes on blocking, and then we get to do a run-through in the final minutes of rehearsal. In the case of an actor who can’t perform, an understudy would fill in for their role,” said freshman and understudy Lucy Beck.   

  In “Noises Off”, the understudies are called to every rehearsal and are expected to meet the same standards of performance as the main cast.

  Casting understudies ensures that if someone gets sick they will have a replacement. In the case of “Noises Off”, the cast of characters is so small that only upperclassmen were awarded roles. 

  “We had just under thirty people audition for the show and only nine were cast. So that was really hard. And I think having understudies is a way to make it more inclusive,” said Theater Production Director Noelle Eben. 

  By including understudies in the production, freshmen are given a chance to experience the SLOHS theater system, giving them insight and training that can help them get cast in future shows. They can also make connections with and learn from more experienced actors that can act as mentors. Best of all, the understudies are all performing in one show together, an opportunity that most understudies would never get to experience.

  Even with all these benefits, accepting the role of understudy should be thoughtfully considered. It’s a huge commitment that requires memorizing pages and pages of lines. Despite all this work, there is little stage time and chances to perform are limited. It’s a ton of work for little immediate payoff. Only individuals who are truly committed to expanding their theater opportunities and experience should accept such a role. 

  “It’s a great way to get more acting experience and to see how SLOHSs theater works,” said Beck.

  It’s not just the understudies who benefit from joining a production.

  “I think it’s a very good experience to be able to work with new people! In high school theater you are typically working with the same people nearly every show, so being able to have more people involved is great in my opinion,” said senior Emily Sincoff, who is a part of the main cast. 

  It can also challenge and push the main characters. 

  “Different actors will interpret a scene differently, so the actors who don’t have understudies must be prepared to respond a little differently depending on their scene partner,” said Sincoff.

  Auditions for the spring musical are coming up quickly, don’t miss a chance to be a part of the next theater production. Audition, get out of one’s comfort zone, build connections, expand theater experience, and grow the theater community!

Also, don’t forget to come see the Tiger understudies on October 28 at 2:00 pm!

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