The stage of the Swift Current Comprehensive High School was transformed into Rydell High this past week for a six performance run of Grease.
A combined effort of the SCCHS Fine Arts Department, Grease was performed six times between Nov. 23 and 26, a run which included one sold out performance. The show played to rave reviews, with many in attendance comparing the talents of the high school students to professional productions.
Unlike past drama productions, this production required actors to add dancing and singing to their repertoire.
“This year we knew, as a Fine Arts Department, we wanted to do something big,” explained Stefan Rumpel, noting that he along with band director Aaron Thingelstad and choral director Brianna Dennehy wanted to set the bar high and tackle a huge production like Grease.
He quickly pointed out that the students have shone while taking on this challenge.
"It’s a gigantic commitment these kids have. (In the days leading up to the show) They have put in now, in the last three days, I’d say, 10-hour days each day, and that’s after school, the hours that I’m talking about. So they’ve gone to school and then they’ve stayed for another six or seven hours and it’s been crazy and been great.
“It’s definitely a huge challenge for them. It’s the first time that we’ve pushed them to put all three together. I mean, we have great singers in this school, we have great dancers in this school, we have great actors in this school, now we’re asking them to do all three together and they’ve really stepped up to do that and some kids have really surprised us with how well they actually have learned things and become more like set dancers than you’d expect they would be.”
Grease was also enhanced by the performance of a live band, who accompanied the singers during the performances.
Mixed in were the efforts of crew, lighting, sound, make-up and other back stage workers who helped the performances go off seamlessly.
“I like where it’s at right now," Rumpel said two days before their first curtain. "We’re definitely pushing to have opening night just be polished so that people can come in and just be like, wow. We’re at a level now where I’m happy. I would show it to audiences, but if we had extra polish, that extra wow factor that we’re going for now,” Rumpel said.
Admittedly, after weeks of rehearsals, they were excited to be performing in front of a live audience.
“When audiences come in, you get a whole new show. You get that wow factor just from that. So if we can give it the wow factor before audiences come, we’re hoping that even pushes it to another level.”
“The arts are just a fun experience. Anybody that’s been on stage will know that the hours you put in are totally worth it that second when you get an audience reaction.”