By John Brescia
On Feb. 18, the theatre enthusiasts of Mask and Dagger, UNH’s student-operated drama society, will premiere “Carrie: The Musical” (“Carrie”).
This darkly compelling musical, based on Stephen King’s debut novel of the same name, tells the twisted Cinderella story of Carrie, a bullied teen who lashes out at her tormenters using telekinetic powers. Thrilling, sometimes scary and ultimately empathic, “Carrie” is a show that will leave audiences stunned with satisfaction.
At the helm of the production is director Brooke Snow, who has been working on the show since April 2015.
“I had to start early, with the script analysis, in order to get to know every aspect of the play,” said Snow. “I’m excited for the cast to be showcased. Some of them are being showcased for the first time. It’s an intense show, because some of the subject matter is pretty terrifying, but also because there are a lot of fun scenes. I’m excited for the cast to be showcased.”
Although “Carrie” is Snow’s first time directing at UNH, she has directed other productions for high school students and has run a theatre camp for kids. Helping Snow manage the production are assistant stage managers Gabby Barbuto and Jess Gero. While a play’s director is in charge of acting decisions and remains in the audience during the performance, the stage managers are responsible for managing the show backstage, even helping to create some of the effects.
“Carrie” features many talented cast members, one of whom is freshman Emily Dambach, who portrays Frieda, the best friend of supporting character Sue Snell. Junior Will Lombard, in addition to playing the character Stokes, is also the dance captain and thus serves as the liaison between the choreographer and the cast.
“I’ve never been in a show like this,” said Lombard. “It’s a mix of fantasy and real high school problems.”
Dambach appreciates the show allowing her to add versatility to her acting experience.
“I’ve played characters who have dealt with hardships before, the ones who got bullied. It’s a fun reverse to play a mean character,” she said.
The Cinderella parallels are clear in “Carrie,” as drawn by Sue portraying the fairy godmother to the titular character, and Chris, who serves as the evil stepsister-esque character.
When asked if she was bothered by the show’s violent nature and bullying elements, junior Teghan Kelly, who plays Sue, said, “Those factors actually make it easier. I like playing Sue because she can serve as an anti-bullying example.”
Sophomore Molly McKay, who portrays Chris, agrees with Kelly’s take on Sue but said, “It’s hard to play a mean character, especially since I have to act mean to my friends, but I’m excited to perform with the whole cast, because we rarely all rehearse at the same time.”
One may think incorporating the titular character’s telekinesis would have been difficult, but in fact, the crew of “Carrie” managed to accomplish the effect fairly easily, having choreographed it into a sort of dance.
Sophomore Amanda Giglio, the choreographer of the production, enjoyed this part, saying, “it’s different from other shows; it uses modern, very free styles. It’s a nice to have a cast who, when you tell them to put their own spin on the dance moves, they can do that.”
The remainder of the effects will be done by lighting techniques, operated by Sarah Gontarski. The play is further complimented by the work of music director Brendan Battey, a physics major who proved his mettle by playing piano for the previous UNH play, “Heathers.”
“Carrie: the Musical” premieres Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.,in the Hennessy Theatre at the PCAC.