HS Drama Club To Share Recording of “Tension” in November

Due to the complexity of live streaming a play while adhering to social distancing guidelines, BH-BL HS Drama Club advisors have decided, out of an abundance of caution, to record the fall production instead of performing it live. Small groups of students will record their parts separately and the different recordings be edited to create one video of the play. Residents and parents will be provided a link to the recording of the play at the end of November (final date is yet to be determined.)

“We appreciate our community’s understanding and our students’ flexibility as we navigate how best to present a play during a pandemic,” says Drama Club advisor Chris Lombardi. “Our goal this year was to still provide students with the experiences of being in a production despite everything happening. And while things are certainly different, our students have adapted well and will put on a great show!”

Students will spend the next few weeks rehearsing and preparing to record their work. They are presenting a suspenseful collection of one acts written by Eric Shovah and adapted from the works of Richard Connell, WW Jacobs, The Brothers Grimm, Violet Jacobs, Joseph Addison and Edgar Allen Poe.

In lieu of ticket sales, online donations via Go Fund Me are being accepted and are welcomed.


“Tension” Program

[PRINT-FRIENDLY VERSION OF THE PROGRAM – PDF]

A Suspenseful Collection of One Acts | Adapted from the works of Joseph Addison, Richard Connell, The Brothers Grimm, Violet Jacobs, W. W. Jacobs and Edgar Allen Poe

Written and Directed by Eric Shovah Performing SmArts Theatricals

Credit to the Authors

The following public domain works were adapted by playwright Eric Shovah for the stage.

  • Lenore, The Raven, The Haunted Palace, The Tell-Tale Heart, Visit of the
    Dead, Valley of the Unrest, A Dream – Edgar Allen Poe
  • Armed – Violet Jacobs
  • The Most Dangerous Game – Richard Connell
  • The Monkey’s Paw – W. W. Jacobs
  • The Fisherman and His Wife – The Brothers Grimm
  • Hope – Joseph Addison

Director’s Note

All summer long, the advisors and production team met, trying to figure out how we put on a show during the pandemic. How do we keep the arts alive while still fostering the safe environment we always strive for during a production? How do we involve kids both in the school and attending virtually? We scoured productions and ran the gambit of shows we could possibly produce, but nothing seemed to fit all the needs.

Once we knew how many kids were interested in being involved in a production (and how many students off-campus also wanted to participate), we decided it might be best to adapt some public domain works (as it gave us the greatest flexibility to include as many people as we could safely). I was fortunate a few years ago to bring to life a production of A Christmas Carol that I co-wrote with BH-BL Alum Isaiah Evans, and the community was once again trusting in my crazy idea to put up another original piece. By adapting a series of short stories and poems into an evening of one-acts, we could work with small groups safely and could also include students who are working remotely. The play Tension was born.

Tension is a series of one-act plays and interlude poems that center around stories of suspense and rely on creating and releasing tension. Tension resides in ghost stories, suspenseful mysteries, stories of survival, and stories about the tension in the choices we make. The play was written during this pandemic–a time during which we all find ourselves carrying tension. Through the arc created by these series of poems and plays, my desire is that it serves as a reminder that, despite the tension we all carry, the many causes of it, and however it manifests itself, we should always look toward hope. Yes–even during a pandemic. Great drama relies on building and releasing of tension, and this piece should serve as an exploration into that fundamental idea. Enjoy watching all the emotions, suspenses, fears, and elations as the tension builds and releases.

I am so proud of this cast, crew, and production team. This has been a very different year, and I know that all of us have appreciated the support of all the students and families during this process. We are so happy that we were able to provide this experience for the students, and we have appreciated your trust, flexibility, and enthusiasm along the way. I know we are all carrying tension in our lives right now – may tonight be a release of the tension for you all and a reminder of why we keep our Hope.

Technical Director’s Notes for Tension

There wasn’t much discussion amongst the production staff about whether or not we would stage a production, it was more about how would we stage a production differently than in the past. We took it as a given that students would be willing to participate and that we would find a way to make it happen. Let’s just say it was challenging. I thought when we made Thoroughly Modern Millie barely happen at the Middle School, the next one would be a piece of cake. Nope.

Eric Shovah, the director, concerned about streaming rights and trying to keep the show broken up into small parts that could be rehearsed separately by different small groups, chose some public domain works and somehow adapted them into our production Tension.

All the workshops, auditions and the first month of rehearsals took place virtually. Eventually we were granted access to the building for one hour a day for rehearsal. This meant Eric spent more time in the car driving to and from the building than he did meeting with kids on a given day. When he returned home, he would fire up his computer and begin a series of two or three Google meet rehearsals that took him well into the late evening.

We also had about one hour a day for just the last few weeks to build the technical side of the show. It wasn’t until this last week that our hours were expanded, but they were still a fraction of our normal preparation time.

Somehow during that time we had to squeeze in moving our technical operations from the other end of the building down to the Black Box and then incorporate the whole new dimension of shooting it for streaming.

We all agreed it was important that the performances be live. It was part of our strategy to keep to try to keep the experience as similar to a “normal” production as possible.

My thanks goes out to everyone involved for being flexible and adapting to an ever-changing set of circumstances.

–Chris L

Production Staff

Director/Playwright………………………………………………. Eric Shovah
Assistant Directors …………………………………………………. Julia Ettkin
Madison McDonald
Technical Director ………………………………………………….. Chris Lombardi
Producer ……………………………………………………………………Dottie Salvatore
Costume Designer/House Manager ……………………. Mialisa Lindholm-Herron

Stage Crew

Set Build…………………………………………………………………….Dylan Baas, Jaime Baas, Jackie Cabral, Julia Ettkin, Cameron Fugal, Joshua Fugal, Destiny Kirk, Tarrin Kuehner, Katya Lombardi, Kai Olson, Elyse Rogers & Sophia Rosendo
Stage Managers………………………………………………………..Destiny Kirk & Kai Olson
Board Op Sound………………………………………………………. Elyse Rogers
Cue Caller Sound …………………………………………………….. Jackie Cabral
Board Op Lights ………………………………………………………. Tarrin Kuehner
Broadcasting Club Camera Ops……………………………. Evan Ellsworth, Sophia

Fantauzzi, Joshua Fugal & Corey Ward
Technical Consultants…………………………………………….Nick McPherson, Brandon Oleksak & Andrew Wildrick
Art Consultant…………………………………………………………. Cindy Thomas-Turgeon

Prelude 1 – Lenore

  • Narrator – Kaitlyn Hartle

Act 1 – The Raven

  • Lenore’s Love – Patrick Nyhan
  • Lenore – Jordan Butcher
  • Narrator/Raven 1 – Emily Burdikoff
  • Narrator/Raven 2 – Ani Adams
  • Narrator/Raven 3 – Rebecca Friedman

Prelude 2 – The Haunted Palace

  • Narrator – Emily Levine

Act 2 – The Tell-Tale Heart

  • Murderer – Lexie Childs
  • Old Man – Alex Dubuc
  • Police Officer 1 – Sydney Gillan
  • Police Officer 2 – Giuliana Zocco
  • Police Officer 3 – Hannah Countermine

Prelude 3 – Armed

  • Narrator – Clara Law

Act 3 – The Most Dangerous Game

  • Sanger Rainsford – Ben Evans
  • General Zaroff – Ellya Winchester
  • Whitney – Jordan Butcher
  • Ivan/Captain Nielsen – Angelo DeMarco

Prelude 4 – The Visit of the Dead

  • Narrator – Emily Levine

Act 4 – The Monkey’s Paw

  • Mrs. White – Hannah Countermine
  • Mr. White – Patrick Nyhan
  • Morris – Rebecca Friedman
  • Herbert – Ani Adams
  • Visitor – Emily Burdikoff

Prelude 5 – The Valley of Unrest

  • Narrator – Clara Law

Act 5 – The Fisherman and His Wife

  • Fisherman – Angelo DeMarco
  • Wife – Sydney Gillan
  • Flounder – Alex Dubuc
  • Narrator 1/Herald/
  • Servant 1/Worshiper 1 – Giuliana Zocco
  • Narrator 2/Guard/
  • Servant 2/Worshiper 2 – Rebecca Friedman

Postlude – A Dream

  • Narrator – Kaitlyn Hartle

Breaking the Tension – Hope

  • Narrators – Clara Law, Emily Levine, Kaitlyn Hartle

Drama Club Officers

President……………………………………………………………………Ben Evans
Vice President…………………………………………………………..Destiny Kirk
Secretary……………………………………………………………………Kai Olson
Treasurer…………………………………………………………………..Prudence Miller
Faculty Advisors ………………………………………………………Ann Derrick & Chris Lombardi

Who’s Who in the Cast and Crew

Eric Shovah (Director/Playwright) – Eric has been directing with the drama club for over a decade and loves to come back to work with the enthusiastic students and supportive production team and advisors. Eric is excited to be premiering his second show at BH-BL having previously debuted his adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Eric is so proud of everyone involved in this production and grateful to the staff and school for helping to keep the arts alive at BH-BL. Thanks and love to his wife and daughters for supporting him during this crazy production.

Julia Ettkin (Assistant Director) – Julia has been involved in the High School Drama Club for four years. She has been a cast member in A Christmas Carol, The Addams Family, The Love of Three Oranges, and Pippin. She was an art director for the student production Clue. Julia is very thankful for the opportunity to assistant direct this year, and would love to thank the cast, crew, her fellow assistant director Madison McDonald, and Eric Shovah for a lovely experience. She would also like to thank her family for the continuous support.

Madison McDonald (Assistant Director) – Madison is so excited for you to enjoy this great show! This is Madison’s second show as assistant director, but she has been involved in every fall show and spring musical that has been put on during her four years in high school. During these crazy times it’s very rewarding to work on a show put together by Eric Shovah. The cast, crew, and production staff have worked extremely hard and she’s so proud of the wonderful people that make up the Drama Club.

Dottie Salvatore (Producer) – Dottie is thrilled to be producing another show for BH-BL. This year has been a strange one. It has certainly been filled with tension. She sincerely hopes you can take some time to relax and enjoy the show.

Ani Adams (Narrator/Raven 2The Raven/Herbert – The Monkey’s Paw) – This is Ani’s first production at the High school. She has been in many productions such as Lion King, Mary Poppins, Seussical, and The Little Mermaid. Ani is in 9th grade and is very excited to be in high school. Ani would like to thank her family for bringing her to and from rehearsals and for their support.

Emily Burdikoff (Narrator/Raven 1 – The Raven/Visitor) – Welcome to Tension. A mystical show with suspense. Emily is tremendously grateful to be able to be a part in this year’s BH-BL High School Fall Production of Tension. This is Emily’s third show at the high school and she couldn’t be more proud. Over the years Emily has done many shows at BH-BL including Peter and the Starcatcher, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Mary Poppins. She would like to acknowledge all the dedication from Mrs. Derrick, Mr. Lombardi, Mr. Brunson and Eric Shovah for their amazing effort of hard work that went into this production. Quote from Mr. Brunson “It’s a great day to be a Spartan”. So sit back, relax and enjoy!!!

Jordan Butcher (Lenore- The Raven/Whitney – The Most Dangerous Game) – This year’s production is Jordan’s very first ever!! She is so excited to be a part of something so amazing!! She is a freshman, and she would like to thank my sister (Mason Butcher) for introducing her to this incredible community, and her dog for looking at her weird while she rehearses her lines. Stay groovy and enjoy the show!!

Lexie Childs (Murderer – The Tell-Tale Heart) – Lexie is thrilled to be a part of this year’s fall production, Tension: The Tell Tale Heart. She is a senior at the BH-BL High School, and theatre has always been her passion. She’s incredibly grateful to be able to explore her love of the performing arts alongside such wonderful people. A few of Lexie’s past roles include Dorothy Brown in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ensemble Woman in Clue, a featured Dancer in Pippin, and Princess Ninetta in The Love of Three Oranges. Now, she invites you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Hannah Countermine (Police Officer 3 – The Tell-Tale Heart/Mrs. White –
The Monkey’s Paw) – Hannah is so excited to be a part of Tension, her second production with the BH-BL high school drama club. She has been a part of many productions including, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Gloria/tap dancer/featured dancer) and Mary Poppins (Jane Banks). This is Hannah’s sophomore year and she is excited to see where this strange year is going to take her. She would like to thank her family and the production staff for always encouraging her to do her best! She hopes you enjoy this tense production!

Angelo DeMarco (Ivan/Captain Nielsen – The Most Dangerous Game/ FishermanThe Fisherman and His Wife) – Although this is Angelo’s first High School Drama Club production, he’s been acting for the last several years. Past shows include Grease (Kenickie), Seussical (Mr. Mayor), Mary Poppins (Mr. Banks), and The Lion King (Pumbaa and a Hyena). Just recently, he was cast as a background actor in the upcoming Modern Love (Season 2) Amazon Prime Series that is filming locally! Angelo is a freshman and is looking forward to continuing his drama journey here at the high school during the next four years! He would like to thank his family and close friends for their support over the years. Enjoy the show!

Alex Dubuc (Old Man – The Tell-Tale Heart/Flounder – The
Fisherman and His Wife) – Alexander is so glad to be back on stage in Tension as Flounder and Old Man! Previously he played Grempkin, the abusive orphan master, in last year’s show Peter and the Starcatcher. Alexander loves making movies & TV shows in his down time. Have fun watching the show!

Rebecca Friedman (Narrator/Raven 3 – The Raven/MorrisThe Monkey’s Paw/Narrator 2/Guard/Servant 2/Worshiper 2 – The Fisherman and His Wife) – This is Rebecca’s first show with the high school drama club and she couldn’t be more excited. She has been in multiple productions such as Seussical Jr. (Who, Thing 2), Mary Poppins Jr. (Mrs. Andrew), The Lion King Jr. (Rafiki) and Peter Pan (Tinkerbell). She would like to thank all of the staff for putting this show together, and her parents for allowing her to take part in it.

Ben Evans (Sanger Rainsford – The Most Dangerous Game) – Ben is so thankful to be able to play Sanger Rainsford in the premiering show of Tension. The Drama Club administrators have done so much work to make this show possible, and he cannot overstate how thankful he is that he can still perform in his senior year. Ben is so proud of his Drama Club family for giving their all to make this show amazing, especially the new members who have had the weirdest introduction to Drama Club a person could possibly get. He would also like to thank the assistant directors for dedicating so much of their time to make this show better. He hopes you enjoy the show.

Sydney Gillan (Police Officer 1 – The Tell -Tale Heart/Wife – The
Fisherman and His Wife) – Sydney is so thrilled to be a part of Tension! Some of her favorite roles include Once on this Island (Erzulie), Mary Poppins (Bird Woman) and Seussical (Bird Girl). Some other things she enjoys doing is playing the piano and the ukulele. She is so excited to be in the BHBL Drama Club, and she hopes you enjoy the show!

Kaitlyn Hartle (Narrator –LenoreA Dream – Hope) – This is Kaitlyn’s first show at BH-BL. Having her first show experience here being in the midst of COVID has sure been interesting, but it’s also been a lot of fun! She’d like to thank everyone involved in the show for still making this happen, as it’s always one of the highlights of her year. She hopes you enjoy the show!

Tarrin Kuehner (State Crew) – Tarrin is very excited for this production of Tension. Tarrin has many years of experience in stage crew and mainly lighting. Tarrin is doing lighting again for his 4th year on stage crew in drama clubs in elementary school and middle school. Tarrin has done four other shows which were Lion King, Grease, Mary Poppins, and Lion King again. He is very excited for another production even in these circumstances and I hope everyone enjoys the show!

Clara Law (Narrator – ArmedThe Valley of Unrest – Hope) – Clara is in 9th grade and this is her first production with BH-BL drama club. Clara has studied ballet for many years and has performed on stage with the NYC Ballet at SPAC in Circus Polka, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Coppelia. She is looking forward to getting to know the BH-BL Drama family in the years to come and being a part of their future productions as well as improving her acting skills.

Emily Levine (Narrator – The Haunted PalaceThe Visit of the Dead
Hope) – Emily is incredibly excited for her fourth production with the high school Drama Club. After being in Pippin (Featured Dancer), Peter and the Starcatcher, (Bill Slank) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Featured Dancer), she is ecstatic to be a part of the first production of Tension. She’d like to thank her family for helping through the process, and hopes you enjoy the show.

Patrick Nyhan (Lenore’s Love – The Raven/Mr. White – The Monkey’s
Paw) – Patrick is ecstatic to be making his high school debut in Tension. In previous years he has performed in The Lion King (Mufasa), Once on this Island (Tonton), Mary Poppins (Michael Banks), and in Seussical the Musical (JoJo). When Patrick is not on stage, you can catch him walking around his house quoting John Mulaney or speaking in random accents, such as a Russian mafia boss, for no apparent reason whatsoever. He is very grateful for this amazing opportunity and would like to thank the cast and crew and all his family and friends for their support!

Elyse Rogers (Stage Crew) – Hello! Elyse is on stage crew. She helped build a lot of the sets in the show, and she will be working with Nick for sound as well. She wants to thank Mr. Lombardi for teaching her how not to cut my hand off when cutting wood. She really hopes you all enjoy the show!

Ellya Winchester (General Zaroff – The Most Dangerous Game) – Ellya is in her junior year and is so happy to be in this year’s production of Tension . She was previously in Thoroughly Modern Millie as Alice/ Featured Dancer/Featured Tapper, The Love of Three Oranges as Smeraldina, Pippin, Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and Seussical . When Ellya’s not at rehearsal, she enjoys eating Cocoa Pebbles, modern dance, and photography. She hopes you enjoy the show!

Giuliana Zocco (Police Officer 2 – The Tell-Tale Heart/Narrator 1/
Herald/Servant 1/Worshiper 1 – The Fisherman and His Wife) – Giuliana is so enthusiastic to be in the fall play. She has been in the past O’Rourke Middle School plays and she decided to continue drama. She has been working hard for the past month for this production.

Special Thanks To: Mr. Tim Brunson, Mr. Peter Giroux , Mrs. Lisa Sauer and
the BH-BL HS Custodial Team, Mrs. Tara Mitchell and Performing SmArts