NNHS Fall Play: All I really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten By Lucy Westlake

Bundled up and huddled six feet apart, an audience filling about half the parking lot attended Naperville North High School’s Junior/Senior Fall Play Friday, Oct. 16th. On a stage located in the west parking lot at North, NNHS students braved the blustery below-50 degree weather to perform All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Pictured: Audience members bundle up and socially distance with their group in order to watch the play in the NNHS senior parking lot in below-50 degree weather

The cast was finalized a mere 4 weeks ago by director Andy Simon. They promptly began rehearsals,thought in normal circumstances the cast would have had 6-8 weeks of rehearsals, says Simon. Furthermore, the show was moved up a week due to logistics with the stage, putting the crew in even more of a time crunch. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the play was outside, posing weather as yet another hurdle for the cast to overcome. Regardless of weather or attendance, Simon is simply grateful for the chance to perform, an opportunity most other highschools do not have.

“It’s 40-some degrees right now, so it definitely affected people coming in, and I knew that was going to happen. I’m less concerned about how many people came, just the fact that we’re getting to do live theater,” Simon said.
Cole Phillips (far left), Beth Carlson (middle left), Abby Kushenbach (middle), Rachel Leibforth (middle right) and Nicholas Geoghan (far left) face the audience while performing a scene about the meaning of life.

Simon also spoke of COVID-19 precautions taken by the cast, saying that the safety of the students took top priority. They rehearsed on Zoom or in the bus lot at NNHS, with final rehearsals taking place in the last two days prior to their opening night. When together, they were masked, socially distanced, and had their temperatures checked.

Cast member Jack Zeivers was impressed with how the play came together in such a short amount of time. While he admitted that the condensed time frame was stressful, with less time to learn lines, cues, and create costumes, he enjoyed the experience just as much, if not more than, previous productions he has taken part in at NNHS. He spoke highly of the way cast members kept each other responsible for learning their parts, and was grateful for a break in the monotony of long days on zoom.

“The biggest take-away was getting to have that social interaction, and getting to be with people I wouldn’t necessarily get to be with normally. It was very refreshing considering the current global climate,” Zeivers said.

Pictured: Juhi Sabharwal (left), Jack Zeivers (middle), and Beth Carlson (right) perform a scene about the dedication of family.

Simon agreed that the play exemplified how students can now more than ever benefit from extracurriculars offered by NNHS.

“I think we got a chance to come together as a community. Obviously everybody is staying and sitting at home on their screens, and so activities and athletics are giving kids a chance for some of that socialization that they are missing day-to-day,” Simon said.

The play was composed of short scenes, each with a different storyline in which some actors narrated while others played the characters within the narration. It ran smoothly with few pauses or mic mishaps. The delivery of the plays was applause-worthy, especially given the added stress of COVID-19 restrictions. Even from afar, the actors’ passion for the performance was palpable, leaving some audience members smiling, some crying, and others a combination of the two. All considered, the heart-warming performance was well worth the numb toes.

Left: Mark Vanderwater performs a monologue scene about nature taking its course. Right: Diana Soukup sits alone on a bench performing a monologue of an emotionally riveting scene about death.
Cast of 12 NNHS students bow to end the junior/senior fall play