The freshman-sophomore play is a great opportunity for underclassmen to get involved with North theatre


Photo by Maxie Oasay

The cast of the Freshman-Sophomore play, “Bethel Park Falls” completes a runthrough

This past weekend, Naperville North Theatre put on their Freshman-Sophomore (Frosh-Soph) performance of “Bethel Park Falls.” With a cast comprised entirely of underclassmen, and being student directed and produced by upperclassmen, the play provides a great opportunity for fresh faces to get involved with the NNHS performing arts program. 

“Bethel Park Falls” includes 9 interconnected vignettes where sixteen characters experience and help each other through life’s ups and downs, all while sharing an appreciation for their town’s beloved park, which is planned to be permanently closed. 

Because the Frosh-Soph play is the first theatre performance of the year, it is a valuable opportunity to showcase what Naperville North Fine Arts has to offer. Additionally, it gives a helpful introduction of what to expect in future productions. Thomas Parry, an NNHS Communication Arts teacher and Director of the Frosh-Soph play, explains how the production benefits underclassmen students who not only want to be a part of theatre at North, but those who want a role in the spotlight. 

“It’s a great way to be introduced into our program… It’s also a really good opportunity to allow them to be the stars of the show because typically when you’re in a really big pool of students that are freshman through seniors, a lot of times of course the more experienced actors win out those roles,” Parry said.

Not only are there leading roles for the underclassmen, but there are leadership roles behind the scenes for upperclassmen as well. Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to take charge by directing and producing. Senior student directors Justin Bach and Gabriella Chinnici have made creative and technical decisions alongside Parry. Parry says that having student directors is not only an excellent leadership opportunity for upperclassmen themselves, but benefits the entire cast as well.

“It works for the younger kids, because they’re able to kind of aspire to be like their upperclassmen counterparts. They can also go to them for advice about everything. So not even just theater stuff, but also stuff about school… I also feel like, again, it benefits even the older kids because they’re able to have that mentorship role and be able to mentor the younger kids” Parry said.

In previous years, many of North’s Frosh-Soph plays have been comedies. However, “Bethel Park Falls” has a more dramatic touch to its plot. This presented some uncertainty among the cast and crew as to how the ‘dramedy’ would come together. Junior producer Rachel Meikle describes how she felt throughout the rehearsal process of the show.

“I didn’t know what to do, because it’s not a comedy like it normally is. But [the cast] has really done a great job, changing the acting styles and really bringing out and getting into their characters,” Meikle said.

Despite these concerns, the camaraderie and relationships that developed throughout the production process helped the cast overcome these creative adversities. Many cast members felt that they were able to grow closer with people they didn’t know well. Freshman Anderson Karkkainen says his experience of being a part of North’s theatre program was a great opportunity to get to know new people. 

“You get to see a lot of different people from different areas [of North] because generally where I’ve been it’s kind of been all in one area… So it’s nice to meet the new people, it’s special for me because everything is new,” Karkkainen said.

The Frosh-Soph play provides an opportunity for underclassmen to learn and grow. This introduction to North’s theatre program shows the potential of the younger class and the year that Naperville North theatre has ahead. Bach explains what he wants the cast to gain from the production. 

“I just want to make [the play] a positive experience for [the underclassmen], it’s me and Gabby’s responsibility to make this production as great as it can be and a fun experience for everyone,” Bach said.