The Old Man and the Old Moon, a musical produced by PigPen Theatre Co., has been adapted by the NEO this winter. The show ran from February 13 through February 17.
According to Lana Breheney ’21, who plays Llewelyn the old man, the musical this year is quite different than those in years past in terms of its theme and the way it is presented.
“The Old Man and the Old Moon is a relatively new piece, and it is sort of a folk musical. It is a beautiful story that needs to be told,” Lana commented.
Thrilled to return to the NEO for her third show, Lana shared some new features about the musical this year. A live band played onstage throughout the musical. “In past shows the band always play from the pit, where they can’t be seen, but this time the audience will actually see the band play,” she said. Lana also thought that the music in The Old Man and the Old Moon mostly serves to “create a feeling that is perfect for the state that the musical is in at that moment” rather than to keep the musical going.
John Howley ’21 agreed that The Old Man and the Old Moon is unique in many ways. John mentioned that “typically in musical theater, there isn’t much character arc or depth, but the musical this time is different in the sense that the characters are going through real issues.”
Rotating character is also a new endeavor that the NEO is trying this year. John stated that the same character is played by different people, and the actors rotate their roles by passing a hat. Before the first show on Wednesday, John expressed his hope for the audience to really “be on board” with the characters throughout the show. “Although the story might be simply told, I hope the audience could see past the story into the characters,” John added.
The success of any NEO show requires the effort from many diligent individuals. Many of them work behind the scenes, yet their effort is essential to what the audience see on stage. The technician crew of the NEO work alongside the cast and director in preparing for stage set, costumes, props and lights.
Grace Wolf ’20, a tech crew member, does a lot of scenic painting in the NEO, and she has returned to the NEO time after time for this unique experience that she loves. Grace enjoys putting her own influence into the props and set design, and she has also learned to program some of the lights. Working with professional carpenters, painters, and engineers who come in on Monday and Wednesday nights is another unique experience that Grace has enjoyed. “Doing tech definitely opened me up to a lot of new things, this experience got me interested in designing and engineering.” Grace added.
Another interesting aspect of tech work in the NEO is the freedom to solve problems in one’s own way. Cheri Chen ’20 is also a returning member of the tech crew, and she works with props and costumes and also paints. This year, Cheri and her fellow tech members were given the challenge of making a chicken prop. With no designer to help them and no exact procedures to follow, Cheri and her coworkers began thinking on their own and built the chicken from scratch. This experience of navigating difficulties with peers is very common in the NEO.
Cheri commented, “oftentimes we are just told that we need to make something, for example, blood, but the way to approach it is your own idea.”
As a veteran of tech crew, Grace has loved her experience in the NEO and would love to encourage more people to consider joining theater tech. “If you have any interest in art, design or musical theater, theater tech is definitely a great choice to consider. You have so much freedom in the process, and you will get to put a story together with a group of actors and actresses,” Grace said.
Our director, cast, and technicians have worked tirelessly to put this amazing show together for the Loomis Chaffee community. A huge shout out to everyone who has put their best effort into this musical!