Campus & Community

Backstage at Harvard’s Oberon Theater

4 min read

What happens behind the scenes in a Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club production

Club Oberon, known for its over-the-top disco performances, wide-open comedy specials, and colorful drag shows, took a break from the edgy this month to host the Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club’s production of “Into the Woods.”

At a glance, the show is simply a fun mash-up of fairy tales. But in true Oberon fashion, audiences found themselves witnessing a wild, behind-the-scenes look at their favorite storybook characters. From the Baker attacking the Wolf with a machete to Cinderella’s stepmother hacking at her daughters, the show danced the line between the traditional tales and off-color humor.

Before the troupe pulled back the curtain for evening audiences, The Gazette pulled back the curtain on the troupe itself to see what exactly goes into a drama club production.

Eliza Mantz, who plays the Baker’s Wife, puts the final touches on her costume, adjusting her hair bow in a nearly empty dressing room before running on stage for the final dress rehearsal of Harvard-Radcliffe’s production of “Into the Woods.”
Stage manager Sarah Grammer gives notes about the sound and lighting to members of the stage crew.
Sarah Grammer takes notes on her master script as she watches the Baker, Derek Speedy, and the Baker’s Wife, Eliza Mantz, perform “It Takes Two.”
Jack, played by Eli Troen, delivers a passionate performance of “Giants in the Sky,” in which he scales and leaps from booths and runs through the theater to signify his journey up the beanstalk.
Cole Edick, who plays the Narrator, leads the cast in a cheer to reinvigorate them for the second act.
Director Jake Stepansky and Madi Deming share a moment during a short break.
The Witch, Ashley LaLonde, explains to the Baker, Derek Speedy, and the Baker’s Wife, Eliza Mantz, that to lift the curse on their house they must bring her a white cow, a golden slipper, and a red cape.
Jack, Eli Troen, sings a heartfelt goodbye to his closest friend and cow, Milky White. The cow mask was designed and created by the Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club prop design team, led by Rachel Harner and Ian Power.
Cinderella, Arianna Paz, recounts details of The Prince’s festival to the Baker’s Wife, Eliza Manta.
Eliza Mantz and Arianna Paz stand on the Oberon Theater bar as members of the orchestra run out during the performance.
Lucy Devine (left) and Annabel O’Hagan, who play the evil stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda, snap a series of selfies in the dressing room with their prop fans.
Annabel O’Hagan and Ashley LaLonde share a laugh over O’Hagan’s Little Red Riding Hood’s Granny costume.
Music Director Brian Ge delivers notes to the orchestra’s French horn player during a break. Ge, along with several members of the orchestra, enjoyed a dinner of Chinese take-out in the theater before the cast arrived.
Ashley LaLonde practices twirling her cape in preparation for her role as the Witch.
With finals just around the corner, Ashley LaLonde sneaks in time between scenes to study backstage.
The Baker, played by Derek Speedy, saves Little Red Riding Hood from the Wolf, Jake Corvino, by “cutting her out” of the Wolf’s stomach. Risk assessment was heavily discussed by cast and crew to determine whether or not it was safe to use a real machete as a prop in the scene. After several runs of the scene, it was determined a knife would be used.
Violinist Christine Hong of the Harvard Chan School of Public Health adds rosin to her bow in the women’s dressing room in preparation for her part in the all-student orchestra.
Before they transform into her iconic golden slippers, Arianna Paz, who plays Cinderella, slips on brown boots for the top of the show.
Props such as a rubber toe and heel are meticulously arranged on a table backstage. Cinderella’s stepmother cuts off part of her daughters’ feet during “Careful My Toe,” so that one may fit into Cinderella’s golden shoe.
As their female cast mates meticulously apply makeup, Derek Speedy and Eli Troen, who play the Baker and Jack, respectively, solve a crossword puzzle in the men’s dressing room.