By Diane Zhang
Special to the Alpine Mountaineer
“Lights 9, go!”
Light spills onto a darkened figure onstage, cradling a flickering candle. The figure is none other than Rim High senior Joshua (Josh) Jozens, the actor playing the main role of Edgar Allan Poe.
Brought to life on the theatrical stage, Rim High Theater’s play Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe encapsulates a quartet of the famed writer’s most popular works, including “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
Performed by Rim of the World High School’s very own theater Troupe 145, which was established in 1972, the entire production featured approximately 40 cast and crew members.
The director, Teddy Nicholas, also works as a teacher at Rim High School.
“I was in theater all throughout junior high and high school, and I just kind of fell into it. I started working here when the drama teacher left that same year, so then we took over the next year,” he said.
Teddy Nicholas’ wife, Nic Nicholas, also works as a teacher at Rim High School. Nic Nicholas is the assistant director; the pair have been a part of Rim High Drama for seven years.
“The kids are the best part,” Teddy Nicholas continued. “It’s just a really inviting, safe space, where people can be themselves.”
Ethan Perkins, who is also assistant director, shares the same sentiment: “I love working with the kids and teaching them what I know, and seeing what they bring into the department.” Having graduated from Rim High School in 2018, he has returned to the school as an AVID tutor and substitute.
Troupe 145 is regulated by the International Thespian Society (ITS) and competes regularly in annual competitions, where student actors are scored in areas like voice projection and body language. Today, over 2.4 million students have been inducted into the ITS.
Josh Jozens has been a part of Rim Drama since his junior year. “Growing up, I was always interested in theatrical performances, how they could portray people that were just so different to who they were…I definitely have a much greater respect for the arts now. I feel like I want to pursue acting as a career and step a little bit into film and theater as well.” With Nightfall being his third production, Josh has also starred in plays like High School Musical, On Stage!, where he played the main role of Troy Bolton, and Alice in Wonderland as the Cheshire Cat.
Memorization plays a key role in these students’ performances. Without it, they wouldn’t be able to recite their lines so flawlessly.
“For rehearsal, it’s about like three hours every day, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and sometimes Saturdays,” Josh continued. “For me, it took about two weeks to memorize everything, and the script is about 55 pages long for Nightfall.”
Aidan M. Lynch, a 10th-grade student who is playing the roles of Roderick Usher and the Old Man in Nightfall, has been part of Rim Drama since his freshman year. Previously at Rim, he has been involved with shows like Alice in Wonderland (playing the role of the Mad Hatter) and High School Musical. Aidan adds, “Drama has helped me to connect with people and to find family, and to creatively express myself to my fullest extent and to be accepted for who I am, no matter what I am expressing.”
Lying just out of sight, the hidden heroes of tonight’s play include Stage Manager Katarina Hardyman and Actor/Costume Designer Ethan Smith.
As stage manager, junior Katarina is charged with coordinating and collaborating with all aspects of the show, from actors not being able to find a plain white T-shirt to directing lighting cues. She is also treasurer and secretary for the Drama Club. “Before the shows start, I’m in charge of making sure that every portion of the cast and crew are doing their job. With the crew, I’m making sure that the sets are getting built, props are getting done, lights and sound are completed, as well as organizing the lobby and decorations. During the shows, I tell the lights coordinators and sound coordinators when to go, so I’m always doing something.”
Ethan, also a junior, has been a part of Rim Drama since his freshman year. He plays the roles of Sante and Roderick in Nightfall. He is also tasked with being a costume designer.
“I started doing costume designing in Alice in Wonderland and I spent a lot of time in our ‘specialty closet,’ which holds some of the goofier items, looking for things that are out of the ordinary. This show is all in the 1800s, so I had to research what people dressed as and what the style was at the time.”
To stay thrifty, Ethan tries to create new costumes from pre-existing materials. “It’s a matter of finding what you have and what you can use, but also what you don’t have but you absolutely need.”
To top off all this excitement, Nightfall also included some acting from Rim of the World High School’s very own Principal Willemse, Assistant Principal Keaney and CTE Coordinator Ms. Phillips!
Senior Diane Zhang will be reporting on events taking place at Rim of the World High School throughout the year.