Field Guide to Drama Productions

dramapersonaeOne of the most varied ecosystems in a High School, this is a multilayered world filled with complex relationships between species: unspoken rivalries, weird crushes, panicked improvisation, and resentment towards bossier species. It is important to remember that while all species are united by their common goal to deliver a production to a sizable number of people, they are all functioning on high stress and lack of sleep. [ENTER]

I. Drama Teacher

The Drama Teacher is the charming but ditzy top of the food chain. It decides as democratically as possible who stays and who doesn’t, and since these choices are made hurriedly in the span of a week, she often regrets them for the next two months of the production season. During this season, the Drama Teacher ceases to focus on self-preservation, instead using a distress call to let its fellow creatures know it is agitated. At least twice per production, the Drama Teacher has an incomprehensible ululation episode in which all other species shrink back to the edges of the auditorium.

II. Proud Prodigy

Romeo. Hamlet. Macbeth. This creature is a highly talented male and is fun to watch on stage. Unfortunately for him, this is the only ecosystem in which he thrives as a dominant male, and thus he struggles desperately to maintain this unnecessary position through passive-aggressive remarks and avoidance of other male cast members. He also flirts with the Female Lead to a distracting extent that jeopardizes her performance and makes the entire ecosystem unwieldy, but nothing matters to this critter except a one-way ticket to Juilliard. 

III. Female Lead

Much to her distress, the Female Lead is regularly tended to by a small flock of Makeup Girls who insist on keeping her looking her best, apparently for the attention of the Proud Prodigy and various males in the audience. Typically she despises them all. She is prone to telling elaborate stories about the rest of the ecosystem in a way so charming, one doesn’t even begin to question their accuracy.

IV. Wily Ensemble

This creature thinks it is in the perfect spot. The Wily Ensemble member is here to win his grandma’s praise, as well as the attention of the female lead, which he usually steals from the Proud Prodigy. This sketchy creature is hard to catch in the act: often fairly nondescript, he winds up with a decent number of lines and encourages other cast members. He doesn’t get much credit and that is what he enjoys most, due to a misplaced sense of self-righteousness. However, without the Wily Ensemble, the whole production would crumble and the food chain would fall apart. His wry remarks say it all.

V. Boorish Ensemble

In order for the production to thrive, a species good at singing are birthed in massive numbers. They are not to be mocked: without them, the Proud Prodigy has no one to make him feel superior, thus defeating his purpose. These creatures usually don’t understand what the production is about, generally having a loose grasp of time period or genre. They are also known to enjoy making sure species not involved in the production know they are with a variety of mating calls and behavior patterns. They are not very good at being ready to go on, but without them, the ecosystem would lose a vital component. 

VI. Stage Crew

Like the Wily Ensemble, and perhaps even more so, these are sly critters that hide around the edges of the stage at the end of the production season. Little of their life cycle is understood by other species, making them the least-studied of all. The most applause should go to them. These are the only creatures in the ecosystem not dependent on attention for survival, and their patient maintenance keeps the environment healthy and working properly.

VII. Humble Talent

This creature is talented but unlike the Proud Prodigy, not trying to flirt with the Female Lead, nor does he or she think they’re better than the rest of the cast. Usually a straightforward individual, this creature may provide comic relief or a strong supporting role. The Wily Ensemble aspires to his skill but, alas, shall never reach such heights. The Humble Talent has one weakness: it is known to suddenly improvise without warning calls.

[EXEUNT] You’re welcome to share your lines in the Comedy of Southern Boulevard below. Are you an actor of some kind? Singer? Performer? Does this article bring back funny memories of the time someone brought half the set down? Feel free to share. In iambic pentameter of course.


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