Theatre students prepare to take the spotlight for skit-based Headliners show

Abby Kelley, News Editor

After the excitement of fall semester’s Annual Skits, which announces each year’s senior superlatives, many believe Bearden’s Theatre I and II classes take a bit of a break. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Directors Ms. Katie Alley and Mrs. Lauren Andrejko are working hard with their spring semester students to prove why Headliners, the spring semester equivalent to Annual Skits, deserves a spotlight just as bright.

“Looking at the numbers, Headliners last year actually drew in more people than Annual Skits, but both are huge accomplishments for our students,” Mrs. Andrejko said.

Headliners is an annual performance by the students of Ms. Alley’s and Mrs. Andrejko’s Theater I and II classes. Students collaborate in groups to write, cast, and perform roughly five-minute skits that present comical takes on resounding trends, pop culture, and recent news.

The curtain will open for the 2020 Headliners performance this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Bearden Auditorium. Tickets will be sold at the door on the night of the performance for $7, cash and check only.

“If you pitch the skit concept in one sentence, does it make you laugh?” Mrs. Andrejko said. “If the answer is yes, then it’s a good idea.”

By blending their professional experience in script writing with their students’ contemporary knowledge, Mrs. Andrejko and Ms. Alley work with their classes to create entertaining skits with a comical edge. 

“What if the Area 51 raid was a success?” Mrs. Andrejko said. “What if Cardi B ran for president? What if Stormi Webster became supreme ruler of the universe?”

Headliners allows first-year theatre students to dip their toes into what would be asked of them for a full-scale advanced theatre production at Bearden. They participate in a dress rehearsal, draft their own scripts, develop their performance talent, and nurse their skills in the technicalities of live theatre.

“The first half of the semester is about getting students used to being on stage and being vulnerable with each other; teaching them that the more goofy you can be, the more outrageous the choice, the better the performance,” Mrs. Andrejko said. 

By the second half of the semester, when students are comfortable on stage, they dive into more focused acting training lessons, and with help from the Advanced Acting and Stage Tech students, begin to conceive technical elements for their skits like lighting, costumes, props, and minor set pieces.

Headliners is also a continuation of theatre education for Mrs. Andrejko’s Theatre II class, which is comprised of students who have already taken Theatre I and wanted to continue with the art. 

In addition to an opening dance, Theatre II students will act in narration skits throughout the evening with a progressive, murder mystery storyline that takes place at a New Year’s Eve party in 1919. Each narration skit will slyly instruduce the next skit pulled from the year’s headlines. 

“The theme for the show is definitely something that Bearden hasn’t seen yet in the Headliners showcase,” Olivia Bowman, a senior and teaching assistant for Mrs. Andrejko said. “It’s intriguing; definitely something worth seeing.”

Headliners is also an important fundraiser for Bearden’s drama department.