RENT cast performs at Scotland Fringe Festival

By Lauren Pires, Arts Editor

Twenty kids, one summer trip and one play that gave them lasting memories.

This summer, the CHS cast of RENT: School Edition, took their performance to the Scotland Fringe Festival where they performed three shows over two weeks.

“The Fringe Festival was amazing,” said junior Laura Butvinik who played the role of Mark’s Mom. “It was so cool to take a show that we love so much, from our school to a whole different country.”

This is the second play from CHS to be chosen for the Fringe Festival.

“An organization called The American High School Theatre Festival contacts theatre professionals to nominate schools to participate,” drama director Jessica Speck said. “We were nominated and then we [had] to submit an application.”

According to senior Aaron Braverman the cast stayed at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, a short ride away from Edinburgh’s city center.

The trip was not without incident, however.

According to cast members Steven Rigaux and Braverman, when both contracted the swine flu while in Scotland the cast and crew had to make some quick decisions and adaptations. They found out the morning of their second performance about the cast changes.

“Three cast members who previously had smaller parts stepped up and filled in for the three leading parts,” junior Josh Kaufmann said.  “Many members of the ensemble also had to step up and fill the roles of the smaller parts that were now missing due to the switching around of parts. The cast and crew had less than twelve hours to rehearse and run the show with these new assigned parts. [That performance] showed how a cast can come together to one hundred percent support each other and unite not just as a group of friends, but also a family.”

Sophomore Michael Mainwaring and seniors Pedram Motevalli and Michael Papermeister took on the challenge of assuming the roles of Roger Davis, Tom Collins and Benny Coffin respectively.

“The opportunity to play Roger was a great experience,” Mainwaring said. “I loved the emotion that goes into the character as well as the songs. When the cast first learned that some of us were going to have to jump in and play different roles we immediately went into rehearsal for seven hours.”

The play was performed at The Spaces at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, a new atmosphere and setting for the cast and crew.  

“In Scotland we had to be in and out of our venue in two hours,” sophomore stage manager Maggie Pelta-Pauls said.  “Our show was about 90 minutes and we had about 15 minutes to get in and set up and 15 minutes to clean up and get out of the building.”

Despite several bumps along the way, the cast feels the experience was all for the better.

 “The trip as a whole was unbelievable,” Kaufmann said.  “I learned, as cheesy as it may sound, to never stop believing in what you are doing. As crazy as things may get, as long as you stay optimistic and work hard, things will work out for the better.”