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  • June 3Showings of Pygmalion June 8 and June 9 in Courtyard
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The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

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Pygmalion: A Show of First Times and Last Minute Changes

Pygmalion+promotion+poster+from+%40vikingtheatrelv
Pygmalion promotion poster from @vikingtheatrelv

The cast of Pygmalion performed their two shows last weekend on June 8 and 9 in the Courtyard. On top of being led by a first-time student director, Bridget McNally, the cast and crew worked through unexpected twists and turns, including a last-minute actor switch for the lead female role. 

“I’ve always considered myself an actor. This experience, however, is making me think I like directing,” McNally said. “I would absolutely direct another show. In fact, my college theatre program has acting and directing opportunities, so I might find the opportunity to direct again very soon.”

In addition to leading the cast through learning lines and their acting performances, McNally took a large part in editing and rewriting parts of the Pygmalion script.

“My biggest challenge directing has been tackling where to change the script. Pygmalion is a free domain play which means I can edit the book however I like,”  McNally said. “Finding scenes to save versus cut is actually very difficult, though. I didn’t want to make the show too long but I also didn’t want to lose important pieces of text.”

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Pygmalion tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a lower-class girl who comes across Henry Higgins, a member of the upper class. Higgins takes a bet to teach Eliza ladylike manners and how to find her place in upper-class society. Pygmalion dives into issues like social classes, and societal expectations and identity.

McNally worked tirelessly for months, closely integrating herself with the actors and crew to bring her vision to reality. She enjoyed watching actors personalize the script and breathe life into their characters by making special connections with their roles.

One actor McNally worked with is Elliana Cruise, who learned she was going to fill in for the female lead role of Eliza after the original actor, Abby Landes, contracted COVID just days before their first performance.

“It is a little nerve-wracking to attempt to memorize an entire show in about four days, especially because I am also taking the ACT this weekend, but Bridget has allowed me to have my script onstage as backup,”  Cruise said.

Concern and anxiety were at an all-time high for the cast and crew of Pygmalion when the lead role needed recasting right before the performance, but McNally and Cruise collaborated to save the state of the play and the ability to perform on time.

“I know that it has been a little stressful for everyone as the state of the performances was up in the air, but I think there’s a bit of relief that the show can go on despite this hiccup,” Cruise said. “Everyone has worked so hard, especially Abby, and it’s sad to see that she won’t be able to perform in this role that she worked so hard on. But everyone is putting in their effort to make this show the best it can be.”

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