ALBANY -- The old movie cliché "Let's put on a show" is exactly what led the Albany High School Theatre Ensemble to the production they are staging the next two weekends. The group's staging of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" was put together in less than two months because many of the students were already busy with the musical "Guys and Dolls" until March.
It was only then that they started looking for a show for the student production, according to co-director Cordy Driussi.
"There are a lot of websites online that have scripts available for perusing and purchase," Driussi said, adding that "Pride and Prejudice" was chosen when "We decided that it would be cool because people would recognize the title and that people have read the book."
Added co-director Julia Marostica, "We had been thinking about options but student production has always been sort of a rush thing. We just have to work really hard to put it on which is what makes this so great."
Performances are Thursday to Saturday the next two weeks at the AHS Little Theatre. Thursday shows are at 7 p.m., and the Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. Tickets at the door are $13 general, $7 students and senior citizens. Advance tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Driussi, a senior at Albany High, is codirecting the production with junior Marostica. This is a true "student production," with about 30 high schoolers working both on stage and behind the scenes.
"If the show doesn't go well, it's on us," Marostica said.
Not only that, according to Driussi, "This is a mostly not-senior class production."
Junior Leo Torrez is starring as Mr. Darcy. Torrez joined the Theatre Ensemble last year and has auditioned for every show.
"This is my sixth show," he said.
Torrez said he has a cousin who is an actor and his inspiration for getting into theater. He said he's enjoying "Pride and Prejudice."
"I wasn't too familiar except that it was written by Jane Austen," Torrez said. "The key is to appear dignified and hold back the love he feels for Elizabeth Bennet. Trying to show one side of yourself while keeping the other side always leads to bad things. He comes off as a bit of a jerk. He's rude to her."
Mr. Darcy's Lizzy is being played by sophomore Zelie Anner.
The quick turnaround on the production has meant a lot of work for stage manager Max Lisch, a junior. He joined the ensemble when he got a phone call out of the blue from a friend.
"No one told me the arts actually existed," Lisch said. "I got a call from someone saying we need someone to do tech."
Lisch had to decide what would work for the production in a short amount of time.
"There was this whole list of all of the things that were suggested for the show. I went through it and made the choices that were more feasible for a smaller production," he said. "I'm extremely happy with the set actually. It looks really good. We're on a tight budget, high school theater, and I'm really happy with how it turned out."
Senior Noah Blankinship has done a variety of theater jobs at Albany High and is part of the stage crew this time.
"I've done everything from acting to sound to set," Blankinship said. "Light crew piqued my curiosity -- how they did it and what goes on behind the scenes in a theater. That's what really got me interested. One thing led to another and I ended up doing a lot of stuff. I showed up, they gave me work. It was fun. A good group of people."