By JUDE SALAM
Intense action and daffy antics will undoubtedly ensue in the recently announced UHS 2018 fall play, Get Smart. Get Smart demonstrates a comedic and satirical take on the secret agent genre and was created by Mel Brooks. The play is an adaptation created by Christopher Sergel based on the popular 60s American comedy television series of the same name (featuring actors Don Adams, Barbara Feldon and Edward Platt). The show aired for five seasons and spawned a number of memorable catch phrases, including: “Sorry about that, Chief!”, “The old (such-and-such) trick” and “And loving it.” The iconic television series was followed by a sequel, a revival series, a film and, most recently, A Get Smart movie remake starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Dwayne Johnson released in 2008.
Get Smart follows zany secret agent Maxwell Smart, whose kooky personality matched alongside his vastly more responsible partner, Agent 99. Cool, beautiful and (thankfully) competent, Agent 99 is always there to keep Mr. Smart in check. The two agents operate under a top-secret U.S. government counter-intelligence agency called CONTROL, working to defeat the organization’s most evil enemy, an agency by the (rather appropriate) name of KAOS.
Auditions took place on the 4th of September and callbacks continued until the 7th. After being asked about the audition process at UHS, director, producer and visual and performing arts teacher Ms. Ranae Bettger said, “every show, we audition differently based on what that show specifically requires from actors.” This year, on the first day of auditions, actors were asked to prepare a memorized, ninety second comedic monologue. “This show is contemporary,” said Bettger, “and when it’s contemporary, it’s easier for kids to find material that showcases their abilities.”
Callbacks took place the next day, as aspiring actors were asked to do a cold read monologue, meaning that they were given an unfamiliar, unrehearsed script and were expected to perform it to the best of their ability. “I am asking that they perform a character just like its opening night, but with no practice,” Bettger explained. The list narrows down as the callbacks continue the following day, where the students will be asked to perform a cold read in the form of a scene.
On the final day of callbacks, Bettger tests the chemistry between the actors, an essential aspect of auditioning to ensure that there is balance between the characters and that the intended dynamic of the play is properly encapsulated by the actors. She does so by asking actors to do a cold read as mentioned above. However, the actors perform alongside another and Bettger observes their interactions.
Being quite an exciting pick for a UHS show, an incredible 76 students have auditioned for the 27 character show. The choice in the show had unsurprisingly caused a lot of enthusiasm around campus.
“I had heard about Get Smart before,” recalls junior Stassia Kemp, “I was super excited because I watch the newer movie a while ago and I love the spy comedic theme!” Many students like junior Gino Torquato were really surprised about the show, as he “did not know it was a play, but I’m very excited to do a show like this.”
The show is set to be performed on November 14 to November 17. With a promising storyline and a lengthy audition process that will undoubtedly yield incredible actors and actresses, Get Smart will surely be a highly anticipated audience experience.