Humpty Dumpty: Interview with the cast and director

Class: Advanced Theater
Grade: 12
Teacher: Jennifer Yolles

The upcoming Advanced Theater play Humpty Dumpty isn’t just a show- it’s the culmination of four years of performing arts studies. The Advanced Theater play offers seniors studying theater, design and tech, and costume design an opportunity to apply everything they have learned to one show. The trust and collaboration seniors have spent years cultivating is showcased through the performance, serving as a reflection point for all those involved.

Below, you can read about the experiences of three seniors, Justin White ’24, Wilson Baker ’24, and Mia Gordon ’24, as well as the director of the show, Jennifer Yolles. Humpty Dumpty is showing in the Black Box Theater on February 22 at 7 p.m. and February 23 at 5 p.m.

Please be aware this play contains mature language and subject matter. It is not suitable for younger audiences.

How has the process been preparing for this show? 

Justin White ’24: Being in Advanced Theater has been amazing. It’s been so fun to be able to collaborate with people that I’ve been with in class for the last four years and to take risks. It’s been easier to relate to the situations in the show and see how we each contribute.

Wilson Baker ’24: It’s been a really fun learning experience. We’ve all done productions before but we haven’t had to do one this small and intricate. So many props and lighting cues. It’s really challenging.

Jennifer Yolles: In the first week, when we first read and cast the show, magic was already happening. They really innately understand the characters and work together in a professional and creative way. We’ve even used the bits from that first week in the final show.

I’ve really grown as a person throughout it all. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of things about myself, likes and dislikes. It’s outside of my comfort zone but it’s been super fun.

-Mia Gordon ’24

What is your character like in Humpty Dumpty?

Justin White ’24: I’m playing Nat, who is a handy man. He looks after the vacation house that the characters come to. There are a lot of interesting themes of belonging in the show and it’s been fun for me to explore this character; there’s something about him I can really relate to. It’s been so fun.

Wilson Baker ’24: My character, Troy, is very snotty and kind of an egomaniac. He keeps walls up by making jokes, but he’s really afraid of going back to what his life used to be. There are some aspects that are tricky to portray such as when his more vulnerable side comes up.

Mia Gordon ’24: Her name is Spoon (which is my favorite utensil). She likes nature, she’s kind of hippie, she’s an actress. I like her and the aspect of her loving nature.

What has Advanced Theater–and this show–been like with this group of seniors?

Jennifer Yolles: This play is very unique in that it is a curriculum capstone project. If you’ve taken enough of the right classes, you can do this show. It’s challenging students to explore everything they’ve learned at the highest level of their upper school careers. Wilson has never been in a straight play, only musicals. Mia has never done one either. They’re all at different places but have come together and there’s an incredible amount of trust. I choose the play for the student group we have, so the play is tailored to the kids and their particular interests and skills.

[This class] is challenging students to explore everything they’ve learned at the highest level of their Upper School careers.

-Jennifer Yolles, Upper School Drama and Theater Producer

When you think back over your four years at Beaver, do any performances stick out?

Justin White ’24: I have two. First, Something Rotten. Everything we were able to do in that show made me think of what I was looking for in a musical when I started as a freshmen. Also, Radium Girls. Everything we put together and the dark, historical, character-driven themes brought out the talent of every single Beaver artist involved. It’s really important that those are the kind of productions that Beaver thinks about.

Wilson Baker ’24: Something Rotten. That was my first big role in the Upper School and I was able to show all aspects of my creative side. I’ve never done a quintessential musical like that with intense dance numbers, costume changes, and props. It was a really funny show.

Mia Gordon ’24: I did some shows in Middle School. I took this class because I’ve been taking theater for four years and thought it would be nice to do the show with everyone in the class. It’s my Upper School debut and the finale of my performing arts career!

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