Fall Play Preview: An Interview with "Clue: On Stage" Director Noah Pligge

Cast members of "Clue: On Stage" rehearse the play.

Juniors Olivia Naber as Mrs. Peacock and Joe Klockenkemper as Professor Plum rehearse a scene from the 2018 EPHS Fall Play, "Clue: On Stage." The show will be performed in the school auditorium at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. (District 401 photo by Dave Porreca)


The 2018 Elmwood Park High School Fall Play, "Clue: On Stage," will be performed Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 2-4) in the school auditorium under the direction of Mr. Noah Pligge.

Tickets are $5, with free admission for students and senior citizens.

Showtimes will be: 

► 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2
► 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3
► 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4

Featuring an ensemble cast, "Clue: On Stage" is a comedy-mystery based on the 1985 film and the popular Hasbro board game. The play was adapted by the film's writer-director, Jonathan Lynn, as well as Hunter Foster, Eric Price and Sandy Rustin.

Scroll down this page to see a full listing of the EPHS cast and crew.

To learn more about the production, we invited Mr. Pligge to tell us about the show (see Q&A below). For additional coverage, click here for a photo gallery from a recent rehearsal. 

Good luck to all this weekend!


"Clue: On Stage" rehearsal

PHOTO: Fall play director Mr. Noah Pligge, right, talks with cast members of "Clue: On Stage" after a recent rehearsal. District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for larger view).


Questions & Answers with Director Noah Pligge


The following is an edited version of an interview conducted via email in early October between Mr. Pligge and District 401's web/media specialist, Mr. Dave Porreca.


Why "Clue" for this year's fall play, and who was involved in choosing the show?


When it comes to choosing a show, I always grab a few options and present them to the team and see what they think. Ultimately, I get to choose for the fall. I knew I wanted to do a full-length show instead of one acts because these kids have never experienced one before. Since our show falls around Halloween, I knew I wanted to do a show with some horror and mystery. A new version of "Clue" came out a few years ago, and once I saw it was available, I knew we had to do it.


Last fall you did "Godspell" (which was totally amazing). Any particular reason why you chose not to do another musical this fall?


I love musical theater. I wish every show could be a musical, but not everything that needs to be taught in theater can be learned in a musical. Being able to speak in front of a crowd makes kids super anxious, and being in a show where all you do is speak is a great way to teach them not to be afraid. Also, many students shy away from singing, and this gives more opportunity to those who feel that they cannot sing as well. I also needed to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself, and a straight play is exactly what I needed.


Cast members of "Clue: On Stage" rehearse a scene.

PHOTO: Cast members rehearse a scene from "Clue: On Stage." From left: Olivia Naber (Mrs. Peacock), Kaloyan Hristov (Mr. Green), Joe Klockenkemper (Professor Plum), Quinn Skelly (Colonel Mustard), Jackie Vargas (Mrs. White) and Elizabeth Ruiz-Goranson (Miss Scarlet). District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for larger view).


Would you describe "Clue" as a "static" kind of play — i.e., a play where there's not a lot of physical action? If so, what kind of challenges does that type of play pose for you and your cast, and how are you meeting those challenges?


If a show feels static, you're doing something wrong. Every facial expression, gesture and bit of body language is a calculated movement. Even the smallest gesture can mean something brilliant. Luckily, if you have ever seen the movie, you know the show has a lot of action. The action doesn't mean as much if there is no point where the scene is subdued. But being subdued doesn't mean that the show is static.

This show challenges the actors to reimagine the way their characters would walk and talk and gesture to one another. If the actors aren't fully concentrating, they fall back into normal high school motions, and it becomes bland. They are constantly challenged to be able to step out of their shell of a human and dictate what they really want to say.


When did rehearsals begin?


Rehearsal started at the beginning of September, and thankfully so because all of us are super busy and involved!


How have the rehearsals gone?


Rehearsals have been OK. We have some of the most involved students in and out of school in this program, and they are beginning to realize how much responsibility that takes. The actors take ownership of their role and place in the program and never disappoint. There will always be bumps along the way, but it wouldn't be a rehearsal without them.


Cast members rehearse a scene from "Clue: On Stage."

PHOTO: Matt Hernandez as Wadsworth and Grace Rajendran as Yvette practice a scene from "Clue: On Stage." District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click image for larger view).


What strengths do the various cast members bring to their roles?


We have a heavy junior class representation in the cast. The leadership that the juniors and seniors bring to the stage is very epic. I never give out answers to the questions the actors ask, but I do lead them on the right track. Due to this process, the actors have taken their characters to a whole new level I never would have imagined.

Their commitment to their character and what they say is a strength. They know exactly what they mean and how they want it to come across. They are unafraid to make a mistake. They know that they cannot learn if they do not make mistakes, and that is something I learn from them every day. Their ability to take big risks throughout the process has helped them grow their characters to the highest caliber.


What are some highlights of the production that audiences can look forward to?


Without giving too much away, the audience can look forward to each iconic character being played to their truest self by each and every one of the actors. Oh, and there is live music too!


Director Noah Pligge and cast members put a wall in place during a recent rehearsal.

PHOTO: Director Noah Pligge (second from right) and cast members put a wall in place on the set of the EPHS Fall Play, "Clue: On Stage." District 401 photo by Dave Porreca (click for larger image).


The performance dates seem a little later than usual this year. Is that an accurate statement? If so, is there any particular reason for the November dates?


The performance is a little later than normal. Being in my late 20s, apparently all of my friends decided they wanted to get married this fall! The show was moved one weekend later because I am in a wedding in late October.


Is there anything else you’d like to add about the production?


The students involved in this production have worked tirelessly and are making something great for the audience to see! They spend night after night working their tails off on memorizing their lines, building the sets, programming the sound cues and learning to grow as humans in the meantime. Theater and the arts are extremely important to these students, and they would love for the community and school district to come out and support them!


"Clue: On Stage" — Cast & Pit Orchestra


CHARACTER

STUDENT

Wadsworth

Matt Hernandez

Yvette

Grace Rajendran (also assistant director)

Miss Scarlet

Elizabeth Ruiz-Goranson

Mrs. Peacock

Olivia Naber

Mrs. White

Jackie Vargas

Colonel Mustard

Quinn Skelly

Professor Plum

Joe Klockenkemper

Mr. Green

Kaloyan Hristov

The Cook

Lucianna Afryl

Mr. Boddy

Angel Ponce

The Motorist

Yasmine Garcia

Cop

Magnus Shipinski

Singing Telegram Girl

Juliet Howard (also assistant director)

Reporter

Kyla Narayan (also assistant director)

The Agents

Mark Javier, Mark Klockenkemper, Victor Sandoval

Pit Orchestra

Piano | Noah Pligge
Clarinet | Sebastian Macias
Flute | Carolina Wozniczka


"Clue: On Stage" — Crew


STUDENTS

Ashley Adams

Klaudia Kolacz

Kevin Ramirez-Gonzalez

Hailey Adams

Kyara Lopez

Diana Rivero

Amanda Badillo

Paulina Lopez

Liz Schultz

Xavier Baez

Marina Maldonado

Kevin Schmidt

Danny Butler

Kevin McFadden

Yaneli Segovia

Luis Calle

Matthew McFadden

Lizbeth Serrano

Isabelle Cruz

Vincenzo Melick

Jeff Slayton

Karolina Czerepko

Abigail Mendoza

Nicole Soriano

Jessica Didani

Kamil Musial

Michaele Soto

Michael Dematteo

Nicole Navarrete

Melany Terraza

Megann Fitzgibbon

Lexi Nieves

Will Valiente

Sarah Fox

Ash Nowlin

Clarissa Varela

Claudia Galicia

Gigi Nuzzo

Giliana Vega

Ilana Garnica

Nathaly Ojeda-Tavel

Valentina Ventura

Joey Goff

Victoriya Osobska

Angel Vera

Karla Gonzalez

Aaliyah Panesso

Donell Yu

Jasmin Grimpe

Rosie Pontarelli

Elena Zjalic

Enrique Hernandez

   

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