Black Hills High School Theatre presented a successful two-night run from March 16th to 17th of the short play Seven Ways to Say I Love You after a short two-and-a-half rehearsal period. Senior Guita Taheri, who has previously lent her artistic vision to two other plays for Black Hills’s theatre department, directed the cast of fifteen as they developed their respective characters and prepared the play as a whole.
The show was comprised of seven unrelated short scenes exploring the ease with which love can be found or lost and the different forms in which it can present itself. From a budding romance between a pizza shop employee and a regular customer, to the jealous rage of a woman who seeks revenge on the man who betrayed her loyalty, to the animosity felt by a pet cat when its owner seeks companionship with a fellow human, Seven Ways to Say I Love You loudly claims that there is no one definition or interpretation of love. Freshman Simone Symonds, who appeared in the play’s sixth scene “The Mind of the Critic”, states that her time with the show has taught her that “love isn’t only an intimate thing- it’s a part of the mind, too”. Theatre veteran Brian Grant comments that even if he doesn’t personally know what love is, the seven scenes demonstrate “that love can be beautiful…or love can just suck”.
Although the rehearsal period between auditions and the show’s performances was brief, most of the challenges the cast faced were related to the content of the show itself. For example, actor Nick Hall explains how each scene within the play “can go multiple different directions” depending on how the actors interpret their lines. “Figuring out where you want to go as an actor” with your given scene was “the biggest challenge” of the process, Hall admits. Creating believable chemistry onstage also proved difficult, as actress Kelsey Otos found out after being cast in the final scene, “John and April”. “I didn’t know my partner at all when I walked in, and it was really awkward because our scene is the most physical, so it was just really awkward”.
Despite these challenges, the cast rallied to put together a strong production within the time they were given that had “something there for everybody”. The cast’s takeaway message from their time together: as Otos puts it, love “can come in any shape or form, and sometimes it can be incredibly cheesy. It’s your own interpretation”.
Head light technician Madeline Gwyn and head sound technician Madeline Krysinski orchestrated the light design and sound transitions of the show (Photo Credit: Gabby Connors, BHHS Wolf Crier).
By Gabby Connors