West Ottawa’s Cast List

Seth Gibson

The West Ottawa Theatre Department just began rehearsal for their winter play Arsenic and Old Lace. The cast list was posted December 22 the final day of school for the 2016 year. The traditional arrival of the cast list is a stressful time for those who audition, and the process affects them in a few ways; waiting on the cast list can give someone serious nerves, the arrival of the cast list can bring forth mixed emotions, and the aftermath of the list can bring people together.

  Everyone knows the horrible sensation of nervous waiting. It comes when someone waits anxiously for a test grade to come back, or when someone tries out for a sports team and eagerly waits for his/her name to be chosen for the season. The cast list is no different.

  An student who auditions never knows if he/she is in the production until the list is posted, and the nervousness is consuming. Sr. Addam Jongekryg, who plays the part of Mortimer Brewster, was singing with the West Ottawa Vocalaires at Freedom Village when the list was posted. It arrived on the Drama Boosters website right when the event ended, but Jongekryg was unaware of the list at the time. Nervousness riddled him throughout the performance. Jongekryg has been in lots of theatre productions at West Ottawa, but this year is his last year. He hoped to obtain a role in his final high school performance: something that means a lot to him. The cast list is the deciding factor of whether or not a thespian gets to do what he/she loves, and waiting to see the decision is seemingly the most nerve wracking thing in the world. Be that as it may, all nervousness falls away when the cast list is finally posted and the decisions are final.

  Non-thespians usually think that when the list is posted, the people that get in are happy and the people that do not get in are sad. However, that is not entirely true. Sr. Mitchell Frauenheim was also singing with the Vocalaires at Freedom Village when the list was posted. He checked the list with a group of his friends and fellow thespians when the event was over. Frauenheim was very happy to see himself on the list; however, he was more interested to see what the list would show for his friends. Arsenic and Old Lace only has four female roles and twelve male roles, so Frauenheim found it interesting to see who of all the talented female actors would be selected for the four roles. A lot of talented people tried out for this production, and while Frauenheim was happy he made it, he was sympathetic for the talented people who did not.

  After the list is posted the cast begins reeling from the emotions that come with it: excitement, happiness, and sadness. Because of this flood of emotions, they all usually come together to reflect and congratulate. In Jr. Elijah Kliphuis’ case, he chose to go a step further. Kliphuis, who plays Lieutenant Rooney, had all of his attention on the Drama Boosters website when the list was posted. When Kliphuis saw that he was in the play, he was very pleased; “Aw sweet,” as he put it. Instead of getting on his phone or carrying on with his night, after seeing the list, he went right to Jr. Seth and Owen Gibson, his neighbors who have been disappointed in the past and congratulated them on their success. Kliphuis’ friendliness truly exemplifies the support of the thespian group, and that alone is something to be congratulated.

  The cast list affects a lot of people. Director Joe Huber tries every year to make the best cast he can; “I know that anyone that auditions really wants to be involved with the show, and I know when I cast that there are gonna be kids that are disappointed… One thing I always do when I post the cast list is I always tell every single person from the auditions that they are more than welcome to talk to me about their audition, because I think it’s an educational process, and it’s not what they did wrong, I (tell them) what I noticed and what will help them in a future audition.” Huber trusts that the people he casts will perform well, interact well, and make for a fantastic set of actors for the specific production. Judging by the high ratings previous West Ottawa shows have obtained, Huber has not been wrong yet. For the thespians, the cast list brings with it a few inevitable realities, and however uplifting or harsh they can be, it is just part of the process.