Cutting Loose in Hell: Getting Ready for Footloose

Jack Marchesani

Video: Footloose Promo

February 25 – February 28 were the four most important days in preparation for the spring musical. Ah, the ‘infamous’ Hell Week that we thespians all pretend to dread. Maybe we are expressing our histrionic inner-selves or maybe it’s because our teachers do not give us any academic leeway. Regardless, Hell Week is a time of stress, practice, sleep deprivation, and bonding.

“Footloose” was my third Malvern Theatre Society production, and my third Hell Week. I was casted as Chuck Cranston, the bad boy and abusive boyfriend that no other guy could compete with (they say I was perfectly casted and I’m okay with that!), but everything changed when Ren McCormick (Joe Canuso, MP ‘14) came to the small town of Bomont.

I absolutely loved play practice, not only because I got to kiss a beautiful girl every day, but also because of the family that formed as a result of the countless hours of practice with these newly formed friends. I looked forward to each practice and cherished every moment that I spent with the cast and crew. After two months of practicing, Hell Week was finally upon us.

Why is it called Hell Week? The 6 hour long practices Monday through Thursday, the average of 5 hours of sleep each night, the impossible juggle of academics and theatre preparations: these are not components of a heavenly week. Somehow, the MTS family manages to pull together and get through hell every year. By studying when we are not on stage, by dozing off when able to do so, and with friendly support from each other, we prevail.

Personally, I had five tests during Hell Week. It did not help that my teachers were not lenient on the academic side of my week. I stayed up past 2 AM every night studying and completing assignments, I slept during most of my classes, and I drank gallons of coffee. It’s not surprising that my grades dropped. Do I truly care? No. Hell Week is the one time of my school year where my academics are not the first thing on my agenda. Grades are just one of the many sacrifices we make every year to produce amazing shows.

Jack Marchesani (MP ’15) notes, “Hell week is always a tough time, and really is a display of everyone’s true colors. I honestly think that this past week was incredible because everyone showed an amazing commitment to the show, and really came together as a family.” Hell Week strengthens relationships, displays true talent, and shows how difficult a theatrical production is to organize.

“Hell week? More like Heaven Week! I loved spending countless hours with my family in the Duffy Center” said Marty Farrell (MP ’13). Brendan Papriello (MP ’13) interpreted that “the hell from Hell Week is far outweighed by the joy we are given from delivering a wonderful show to the loving fans.” Marty and Brendan participated in their first theatrical production this year as seniors.
The spring musical brings together actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and jocks. Nowhere else on campus can this conjunction be found. Friendships between the boys from Malvern Prep and the girls from Villa Maria and Notre Dame are formed. People befriend others whom they would have never met if not participated in the play. It’s truly amazing.
Hell Week transformed a cluster of scenes into a full-scale theatrical production. I made several relationships that I hope to hold on to when my time as a student at Malvern is no more. We’re all going to miss spending so much time with one another. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.