By Kaitlyn Letourneau
Photo by arundelhightheatre.com
Eddie Haggerty, the director for the Arundel High School musical, Metropolis, returns once again from Disney to direct the cast-members. Eddie works at Disney Cruise Line as the stage manager, and has been working for the theaters here in the DC area for over twenty years. This is Haggerty’s fifth year directing the annual Arundel musical, having joined fellow director Mrs. Minor when she transferred from Bowie High School.
Sophomore Colin Aten who plays Groat, one of the characters in Metropolis, says, “[Mr. Haggerty] is really to the point and he really expects you to remember it [the choreography]. He has a vision as to what he wants.” He says that Metropolis is, “ very different compared to other shows.”
Sophomore Delana Chalmers says that she was brought into musical theater by her involvement in choir, as well as her ‘uncle’ (who is really her dad’s best friend). Her first role was in 6th grade in the play Annie, where she played Kate who she says is, “…the least known orphan.” Delana feels that while working with Eddie is fun and he is good at what he does, he can be forgetful, saying, “one time we just went for three hours, no water, nothing…” She mentions having to remind Eddie to give them breaks most of the time. However, she says that Eddie is a very “chill person,” and reminds her of her uncle.
Both sophomores have noticed how, while working with Eddie, their experience in acting has grown exponentially. Colin especially says that he feels he has to, “step it up, acting.”
Senior Andrew Smith plays Steven, one of the leading roles in Metropolis. “…[I] love Eddie’s teaching style. I think it’s really great the way he works with us,” Andrew says. “He is very upfront and forward with what he wants and what he needs from us.” Being one of the lead male roles, Andrew is the focus of a lot of Eddie’s attention. He says that Eddie allows them to get to where he wants them to, giving them a chance to figure out the process of learning and growing the show to be closer to a professional performance.
Eddie, having worked with professional actors, feels that the youth of Arundel’s cast is their biggest obstacle. “The big thing is what they are lacking is life experience,” he says. “Even when working with professionals, the older they are the more places they have to pull from.”
He notices that with the shows that hold darker tones to them, such as Metropolis, the students are very happy most of the time, as they have very little life experience to pull from for the darker emotions. “Especially with this show, it is not a happy show, so getting them to find those deep emotions and sustain it [is a challenge],” says Haggerty. He says that the ability to sustain the emotions comes with experience in life and in acting.
In Haggerty’s first year at Arundel, he says that the theatre department was, “lacking professional experience, especially theater professional experience.” The theater department at Arundel was student-run, and they had very little funding. Mr. Haggerty has been working with Mrs. Minor for twenty-two years, the first seventeen at Bowie High School.
There are many performances of the show this coming March: March 13th-15th, 20th-22nd, and the final night performances on the 27th and 28th. This is only Metropolis’ second high school performance, with six total showings.