ALAMOSA — Tonight the public is invited to attend the premiere of the play “A Gown for His Mistress” at Alamosa High School. The play was written in 1886 by Parisian Georges Feydeau and translated into English by Barnett Shaw.
“It’s about a husband who is kind of sneaking around on his wife,” said English teacher and director Josh Streeter, “but he has to tell all of these outrageous lies to kind of get away with it. It’s hopefully going to be a short, silly, fun play.”
For the past five weeks 19 students have been rehearsing their lines and managing the stage. It is about a week shorter than normal because of the busy spring season.
“There have been a handful of students here or there and they’ll be in something like Knowledge Bowl and have a meet,” Streeter said. “Or they’re taking private voice, or music lessons. So working around those schedules has been a little bit of challenge.”
More than half of the cast competed at a choir contest in Cortez and drove back into town late Thursday. “We’re going to try to have two really good rehearsals today and tomorrow and come back Friday and hopefully put on a really good opening night,” said Streeter on Monday.
However, Streeter hopes that the play will provide the students with lighthearted fun. “I tried to pick something that is hopefully a little bit of a laugh break, but also something that wouldn’t be too much of a demand on the actors and their schedule.”
He also believes the farcical “A Gown for His Mistress” will help the actors grow. The students have performed Shakespeare and horror, but it’s been a while since they did a comedy.
“One of the things I try to do each year is challenge the students and give them a new genre or new style to master. Comedy is all about timing. Sure the lines are funny, but if they’re said too fast then it goes right over the audience’s head. The same goes with any little physical bits.”
Besides scheduling rehearsal time, another challenge appeared in the form of disappearing clothes. Something happened with the rental company and the costumes didn’t arrive in time. Streeter reached out to Associate Professor of Theatre Jenna Neilsen at Adams State University for assistance.
“In addition to directing her own show which opens this weekend, she very graciously helped us out and found costumes for us,” Street said. “That’s a great sign of the sort of relationship we have here between not just the high school and Adams State University, but theater at large.”
That isn’t the only connection these performances have to ASU. Two seniors, Brittny Cook and April Miller, will be attending ASU in the fall on a theater scholarship. Cook plays Yvonne in “A Gown For His Mistress” and Miller plays her mother Madame Aigreville.
John Taylor, director of the department, approached Cook about the scholarship last year. Having done theater since sixth grade, she’s excited to do more in the future.
“It’s the only thing in my life I’ve ever been sure about,” said Cook. “I’ve gone back and forth on a thousand different things, from math, to music, to psychology and teaching. I’ve been all over the place but theater has been my grounding.”
Miller has also been interested in theater for just as long. She hopes to work less as an actor and more as a director. Her dream is to someday direct Hollywood films.
“When I’m in Adams there may be a few times I may be an actor, but I want to be in crew more often,” Miller said. “I think it’s important to know what to do on stage but also to know the stuff behind and above the scenes.”
The students are grateful for their time with Streeter. “He’s been here for four years and we’ve been here for four years,” Miller said.
“He’s started with us and I’ve been in every production,” Cook added. “And now we get to end off with him too. I don’t know where I would be without theater.”
When: April 28 and 29. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and show starts at 7.
Where: Alamosa High School.
Cost: $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Tickets are purchased at the door.