A Focus on Rebellion


Jiahua Chen '20

Students act in last year’s Shockheaded Peter production.

The Hotchkiss Dramatic Association (HDA) has announced this year’s theme for its three main-stage productions: rebellion.

At the end of the last school year, Mr. Marcus Olson, instructor in theatre; Mr. Derek Brashears, director of theatre; and Mr. J. Parker Reed, instructor in theatre and English, along with the student members of the HDA Board discussed potential themes for this year.  Hannah Lothian ’19, an HDA Board member, said, “The unique aspect of our Board is that we pick all the plays at the end of the year all at once – and we decided that we should take the opportunity and bring [this year’s plays] together [with a theme].”  The theme of “rebellion” excited the HDA Board members for its potential to explore thought-provoking material.

The fall production, Runaways by Elizabeth Swados, will introduce the school to the theme on Thursday, November 8. It is a musical about several teenagers who run away from their homes and end up on the streets of New York City. Mr. Olson, who is directing Runaways, said, “[The musical] may let the community in on a vision of a world that’s not so nice as this one, because I think theatre can do that: show you different views of the world.”

Theatre can do that: show you different views of the world.

— Mr. Marcus Olson

Hay Fever is a comedy written by Noël Coward about a family whose egocentrism and internal feuding drives guests away from their home; it will grace the stage this winter. Hay Fever deals with a different—but equally important—type of rebellion: social rebellion, which is more applicable to everyday high school life, especially in a time of conflict concerning policies within the school community, Hay Fever hopes to encourage curiosity about why changes are made and what it means to control one’s present and future. Mr. Parker Reed, the director, said, “Even if [students] don’t find themselves in this particular play, they’ll start thinking about whether they are okay with anybody encouraging them or expecting them to behave in a certain way.”

A theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 will be the finale to this year’s theme as the spring production. 1984 director Mr. Brashears emphasized the relevance of the theme by pointing out, “Orwellian is an adjective for a reason.” The  term is used to describe a political system in which a government has complete control over people’s behavior and thoughts. The influences of George Orwell’s work has garnered him a eponymous adjective, and hopefully, will hold a similarly potent impact over the school community.

The three main-stage plays of this school year are strung together by a cohesive theme easily applicable to our community and the surrounding world today. Supporting these theatrical productions by attending and working on productions will support the work of student actors and designers throughout the school community.