Drama Club examines truth for Fall Show

Director Mr. Christopher Kostro and the cast of “Rashomon” gather to run lines after school before tech week begins on Monday, Nov. 14.

From Thursday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., the Hinsdale Central Drama Club will be staging “Rashomon” in the auditorium as its annual Fall Show.

“I chose [‘Rashomon’] because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a high school production and a professional production of it,” said Mr. Christopher Kostro, director. “The acting required of it is very impressive and very difficult, so as the acting-intensive show of the year with a smaller cast I thought it would be really cool to tackle that.”

The nine-member cast will perform the Fay and Michael Kanin Broadway adaptation of stories originally written by Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. The play follows a samurai and his wife as they journey into a forest, where a bandit later attacks them. The samurai ends up dead, but when the bandit is caught there are three different versions of what happened.

“The audience is left to ponder what is truth and what shapes truth,” Mr. Kostro said. “Is there such thing as an objective truth, or is truth shaped by perception?”

This phenomenon in which people have different recollections of a certain event has become known as the Rashomon effect, and there are many uses of it in popular culture. The movies “Hoodwinked!” and “Gone Girl” are two of many famous examples, and the story has its own movie, “Rashomon,” that the Kanin adaptation is based on.

The cast has worked intensely both inside and outside of rehearsals to effectively capture the perspectives of their characters, including from an emotional viewpoint.

“My character experiences some harsh physical abuse. The most difficult thing by far has been getting into character for the scenes after [the samurai’s wife] being raped because it’s such a dark place emotionally,” said Ella Heider (the samurai’s wife), senior. “I’ve actually been watching women talk about their experiences after having been raped, so that’s been my preparation. I can’t relate to what emotions she must be going through after being raped because I fortunately have never experienced anything like that, but she’s selfish, and I can relate to that. It was very interesting to see how people tell truths to favor them.”

Other cast members have faced issues that are more physical whilst getting into character.

“I don’t have a lot of lines. I’m always on stage though because I’m always tied up for most of [the show], until I get to fights,” said Nick Speziale (the samurai), junior. “I have to really think about what I’m supposed to be doing and how I’m supposed to be reacting. I don’t get to talk about what I’m feeling, so I have to do it with my face.”

This is Mr. Kostro’s second play this year, but he’s had a different approach for the intense “Rashomon” compared to the comedic Freshman Show, “A High Schooler’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

“I think my favorite thing is the fact that I’ve been able to focus so much with everyone on the acting,” Mr. Kostro said. “A lot of times with shows you don’t get to focus as intensively individually with students on acting technique because there’s so many students. When you have a cast of nine, you really can spend the time talking about acting, and that was really cool.”

Tickets for “Rashomon” can be purchased on the Drama Club’s website or at the door for $10, but students with an activity pass can get in for free. However, viewer discretion is advised due to the mature themes being presented.