Adventure into the magical world of your imagination while reuniting with your favorite characters at Masuk’s production of “Into the Woods. Directed by Tom Simmoneti, the showcase of “Into the Woods”, left the audience in awe from the Masuk students’ talent. The cast began with a musical number, setting the tone for the show. Throughout the performance familiar storybook characters take a journey to reverse an evil witch’s curse. Without even realizing it, they begin to sink deep into an unknown forest while learning about the unfortunate consequences they will have to face.
Simonetti thought this play to be very relevant as students return back to their typical lives. The concept of the play relates to the circumstances everyone has been dealing with the past two years. They begin the show with magical characters living idealistic lives, when out of the blue they are faced with struggles, chaos, and fear. Simonetti also believes that many picture this story as an endearing and perfect fairy tale, however, in actuality it can demonstrate the obstacles the world has had to overcome in the past few years.
The cast of the production did not only rehearse non-stop, but they researched background information about the play to make their performance next level. According to Sophomore Vibuthi Jani, a cast member,
“It was definitely stressful for everyone, but especially for Mr. Simonetti because we had a lot to do when leading up to the weeks of opening night. We knew he just wanted the best for us and our performance. He cares alot about the cast and the production so he pushed us to learn and do our best.”
Unfortunately the creator of the score, Stephen Sondheim, passed away just recently in late 2021. Despite this misfortune, the actors in the cast explored the ideas and reasons behind the meaning of this play, to help create their characters. Masuk junior Sophia Kellogg, casted as Cinderella, explains how learning about the people who wrote the play prior to her performance helped build the character she portrayed, stating,
“We learned a lot about the writers of the show, specifically Stephen Sondheim, and learned about their visions for each individual character. Their perspectives on these fairytale characters were really interesting to me, and different from how I had originally thought about them. For example, they saw Cinderella as kind of crazy because she talks to animals, which I thought was interesting and kept in mind while working on the show.”
The young actors were very excited to tell the fairytale through the lens of the characters’ perspectives, with thoughts of Sondheim’s view in mind.
With the mask mandate lifted, the cast expresses that they were able to show more emotion on stage and respond better to each other since their faces were exposed. In the fall, Simonetti directed Masuk’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The cast members were required to wear masks for safety precautions, which made it very challenging to rehearse. Jani, who also participated in the fall drama production, reflects on the difference it has made, “It’s a different experience acting with our masks off. It allows our face to show our full emotion.”
After asking Kellogg on her overall view of the show she emphasizes,
“Everyone was really supportive of one another and respected one another, and there was no judgment which was one thing I really love about working on this show. It was definitely a positive experience, everyone was so friendly, and the show touched on so many valuable lessons about family and life that have really resonated with me.”
With help from everyone including the musical director, Keri Salustri, the tech crew, costume and set design, the assistant director and stage manager, and of course the cast and Simonetti himself, Masuk’s production of “Into the Woods” has been huge success and showcased the incredible talent of the people who participated.