A Look Into Walk Two Moons
By: Shreya Senthilkumar, Shivani Handa, and Kate Sinodis
On August 10th, the Apex Peak Players officially announced their twenty-third annual fall production: Walk Two Moons! Based on the book of the same name, Walk Two Moons follows a young girl named Sal and her cross-country road trip with her grandparents. However, the only reason they are traveling so far is to reunite with Sal’s mother, who mysteriously left them a year prior and never returned, despite promising to come back to them. As they travel, Sal hopes to find her mother before her mother’s birthday passes, which is fast approaching.
Compared to the recent Apex Peak Players’ productions, Walk Two Moons leans more towards drama than comedy, which is why Ms. Levine felt it would be a good fit for this year.
“In the past, pre-COVID, I tried to alternate between comedy and drama each year for the play,” she explained. “But we kind of got out of that routine because we only wanted to do funny stuff for a little while. But now I felt like we were ready to do another drama.”
The cast size and flexibility of Walk Two Moons also made it an appropriate choice for this year’s fall production. The book that inspired the play is at a fourth-grade reading level, meaning students who are in third grade or higher can understand and relate to the play’s themes.
“We were looking for something that could accommodate a bigger cast… and would appeal to a broad audience,” Ms. Levine added. “The technical elements are [also] pretty flexible and allow us to do thrust [onstage] seating…”
Since the conclusion of auditions in early September, the eighteen cast members of Walk Two Moons have been working hard to bring the script to life. They have been meeting regularly for the past three weeks to understand their characters’ personalities and backstories as well as rehearse various scenes and stage directions. Ms. Levine noted that they have recently been “tightening up everything” and adding lighting, sound, and props as they rehearse for opening night.
The cast members are very excited about the play. Emily Hoder, who plays Mrs. Winterbottom and Mrs. Partridge, said, “The show is a lot of fun, but it also deals with deep topics that really touch you and make you think. Overall, it’s incredibly enjoyable and unlike anything we’ve done at Apex since I’ve been here.”
Ali Patalano, who plays Phoebe Winterbottom, said “My favorite part of the play is the end in which the audience gets informed of a huge plot twist. The first time I read the play I was left in shock, and every time I see it performed, I get chills. It is incredibly emotional, powerful, and lets the audience in on very vulnerable and intimate moments.”
As for the technical aspects of the play, Mr. Bunch, the technical theater teacher, has enlisted the Intermediate and Advanced Technical Theater classes to create the vision for the technical elements of the show. He appreciates that there is “a lot of room for creativity and design”. Some unique aspects that have been accomplished are a large tree in the center of the stage, which Mr. Bunch calls the “anchor of the set and the entire story”. There are four different perspectives or “frames” of the show, which the technical team has worked hard to execute. A car will also be part of the production since part of the play includes a car trip.
There are many important and talented members of the crew who help make the show possible such as Ava Cobb, Zoe O’Brien, Bex Cottle, and many others.
Zoe is part of the Costume Crew for the production. “We spend most of our time putting together outfits that coordinate with each character’s personality as well as the time period!”
“I’m the hair/makeup designer and a member of props,” stated Bex. “I basically put together all the makeup and hair looks and help teach the actors how to do them. And in props, me and the rest of the crew find and create any objects you’ll see in the show.”
Ava is the House Manager, which means that she is, “in charge of everyone, directing the audience into the theater and answering questions the audience may have before or after the show.”
This year, the fall production will include one sensory-friendly performance at the Saturday matinee on October 22nd. The Apex Peak Players have partnered with Arts Access Inc., an organization dedicated to increasing access to the arts for people with disabilities. Both Ms. Levine and Mr. Bunch have previously worked with Arts Access Inc., but they actually decided to include a sensory-friendly performance because of their students.
As Ms. Levine explained, “Hunter Dennan and Ava Cobb and a couple of our alumni went to an ‘Artivism’ workshop at the state thespian festival last year…They brought up the idea of doing a sensory-friendly show and luckily it worked perfectly with the script we had chosen…”
The modifications in the sensory-friendly performance include less intense and sporadic lighting and quieter sound effects. There is also “more flexibility to move around [and] make some noise.” With these changes, the company hopes to cultivate an inclusive experience for all audience members. Walk Two Moons will have performances on October 20th through the 22nd, with a sensory-friendly matinee on Saturday the 22nd. Tickets can be purchased for $10 on apexdrama.com. Walk Two Moons will have thrust seating, meaning that the audience will be seated on stage. We hope you will come out to see the fall play and support our Apex Peak Players!