The Northside Black Masque Theatre is back! After COVID took center stage for the last year and a half, Director Megen Gilman and her theatre students brought a little black magic back to the auditorium at North High School in early November. The dark, unsettling, and brilliantly acted production of “Very Still and Hard to See” by Steve Yockey is a collection of vignettes centered around a hotel filled to the brim with ghosts, monsters, murder, mental illness, and a lot of twisted nightmares. Some parents thought it was a little too edgy, but the kids dove headfirst into their alter-egos who flirted with the darker side of life. Cebastian Gomez, in their first production, stole the show as a devilish-Diva dripping in sequins and scathing eye contact. After going stage-dark since March 2020, seniors Jade DeSandoval, Ruby Even, Sophie Scholl and Assistant Director Teresa McManus were finally given a chance to sparkle again with enigmatic and creepy performances. The rest of the cast and crew were equally ghoulish.
The playbill explained, “This show deals with some really heavy topics, and we don’t want to ignore or gloss over that. We also want to ensure that we’re not just making a spectacle of people’s trauma. Because of this, we’ve started a fundraiser for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) to show support for survivors of sexual abuse.” If you would like to donate toward this cause go to tinyurl.com/NorthDramaRAINN. A portion of ticket sales was also donated to the cause.
As a true testament to a North core value, “True Grit,” Gilman never let the creative juices stop flowing when the stage went dark. She diverted the student’s theatrical skills into artistic endeavors that explored the strange new world of isolation the thespians resided in. For a closing act last May, Gilman’s cast produced a movie version of the stage production, “Working.” It was an homage to the working class. Unfortunately, it had a limited audience due to gathering restrictions. Gilman is working on a fundraiser for next Spring’s musical blockbuster, “Mamma Mia” and hopes to showcase the film, “Working,” at the event. Stay tuned for more details.
As a North Alumni and parent who recently graduated to the status of “college-empty-nester,” I cannot help but personalize my affection for the incredible platform drama serves our students. It is a medium for confidence building, poise, public speaking, and tenacity. It ready’s them for their next stage in life. Bravo and welcome back, Black Masque Theatre!