Riverbank High School Drama kicked off their 2022/23 season recently with a performance of “Hammered: A Thor & Loki Play” at Black Box Theater. Drama Instructor and Director John Thiel expressed that “the play went well” and the students executed a challenging play with enthusiasm.
“It was an exciting performance weekend,” stated Thiel. “We had a good turnout of family members and students in the audience. Several students remained after the show to share with enthusiasm what they liked and remembered about the show.”
Students performed four shows over the weekend that had two different casts.
He said, “five of the roles had different actors playing them. This made for a slightly different performance each time.”
The students created and designed comic book paintings, scenic art, costumes, and props over the past six weeks for the show.
“I was impressed by the students and their work on this show,” added Thiel. “This was a challenging play: creating a design that meets the aesthetic of Marvel's Thor in a story that spans time and space. They were well-prepared for their performances, and they should be proud of their work.”
According to Thiel the challenge for the actors was switching back and forth between “Viking” language and everyday conversational dialect along with several lines to memorize.
“A highlight for me were the performances of a scene with a sword fight,” expressed Thiel. “It was a pleasure to watch the actors execute complicated fight choreography while staying true to their character's relationships and the circumstances of the scene. There is a moment when someone is “hit” in the jaw, and in one performance audiences reacted with surprise as if the actor was really hit. The theater erupted in applause when that character ended up winning the sword fight.”
Hearing the audiences discuss the things that they liked about the play was another highlight for Thiel as well as the pre-show that the students put together to entertain audiences as they entered the theater.
“One of the drama classes had created a pre-show playlist for when audiences are entering that featured upbeat nostalgic hits from the last seven decades,” remarked Thiel. “The first few student audience members formed a small dance circle as they rocked out to these jams.”
The drama club will take a break and then auditions will be held for the play “Los empeños de una casa or One House, Many Complications.” Thiel noted that “it is a classical text” written by the poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and produced in Mexico City in 1683. The play is slated for November and will be a bilingual performance by students.