“See How They Run” a Labor of Love


London Kimble

The GCHS Homecoming show, “See How They Run,” has been a work in progress since the second week of the 2018-2019 school year.  Many hours of hard labor have been put into this particular production, on and off the stage.

John Manoogian, head of the GCHS Fine Arts Department and director of the Homecoming show, produces four shows on the school’s stage each year.  The process is his main priority, even taking precedence over his summer vacation.

The Homecoming show for the upcoming season is chosen around the end of May.  Shows are normally picked that contain embarrassing storylines (slapstick) and heavy comedy to make crowds laugh, while keeping some drama to draw the audience into the plot.

“See How They Run” is an upbeat farce that delivers comedic relief from confusing misconceptions.  The show will run about an hour and fifteen minutes with no intermission.

Manoogian uses his own free time to create blueprints for the set, from size to coloring.  His tech theatre students will begin building and decorating the set from the first day of school, up to a week before the show.

The audition process begins during the second or third week of school.  Actors are chosen based on movement, believability, vocal inflection, and comedic timing.  This year, 10 actors made the cut.

Once the actors are cast, the rehearsal process begins the following week.  Every Tuesday through Friday for three hours, actors will receive their blocking and run scenes until the show is completed and polished.

Rehearsals are more than just long hours of memorizing lines and perfecting their blocking.  Student actors create lasting friendships with their onstage family. Senior Jerry Cockrum said, “I have become friends with people I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

While practice is in progress, Manoogian assigns and trains students to work the light and sound boards.   Microphones and spotlights are an essential part of any production that graces the GCHS stage.

Ushers and backstage crew are also comprised of students who are taking countless hours from their lives to contribute to the theatre.  GCHS truly does put on completely student driven productions.

Manoogian makes sure every little detail is perfect for the given time era of the chosen production.  Costumes are rented from Norcostco, a company based in New York, to add a professional sense of realism.  

Hundreds of prop pieces are considered for use in the show.  If a specific prop cannot be found, tech students will rush to sculpt the desired prop by hand.

On opening night, the cast arrives to the theatre well rested, prepared to show the audience that the countless hours of effort have paid off.  Homecoming Court coronation always follows the opening night performance. The theatre sells out almost immediately, so the actors know they have to be spot on for the crowd.

Manoogian said, “I think it is great when people arrive to our shows, and well before it begins, you hear murmurs throughout the theatre about our set design and performance quality… our audiences get a great value at $5 a ticket to see the kind of quality talent we strive to bring to the forefront.”

“See How They Run” performances will be on Oct. 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. in the GCHS Performing Arts Center.  Homecoming Court coronation will follow immediately after a 15 minute intermission to clear the stage. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.