Theater welcomes live audience after one-year hiatus


David Contreras

Senior Mia Valdespino performs for the Ortiz Twins theatrical play on Nov. 19, 2021.

Daniela Grajeda and Yasmine Contreras

On Nov. 17 El Paso High’s theater ensemble put up their first production of the year, The Ortiz Twins, after not performing in front of a live audience due to the pandemic in 2020. The characters, the costumes, makeup, backgrounds and music—it is all just the surface of what was needed to create a show that will keep the spectators on the edge of their seat.

“Hectic, stressful and fun,” Jade Cervantes, theater historian, said when asked to describe what the scene played moments before the opening act was like.

While this is the average response to the question, though similar, the chaos does not ensue in the same manner for everyone else in the team.

“Their heads are somewhere else sometimes and it’s hard to be in sync with everybody,” Sixto Sanchez, theater manager said. “My lights, my sound have to be in sync most of the time. My spotlight has to be out there when it’s needed.”

In Sixto’s experience, teamwork is the most important thing to make everything come together, but it could also be the cause of everything evolving into chaos.

There is just no way to communicate in the midst of a play. Simply signaling when a certain effect should come into action is just as difficult.

“Typically you’ll see someone half into their costume screaming at somebody else, trying to figure out something, tripping over the set,” junior, Julia Ferret, actor and Vice President of theater said. “A bunch of things that end up happening, but we get through it.”

The levels of adrenaline a few minutes before the opening act remain the same even for weeks before a date is announced.

Lines must be memorized, costumes need to be thoroughly thought through, everyone must know exactly when a specific action must be performed and the domino effect it will have on the rest of the play.

“The week before the show typically consists of late nights,” Julia said. “A  lot of screaming, a lot of studying, a lot of temper tantrums, and it’s really hectic.”

It’s at this point when they are running through the last of all, polishing the goods as close to perfection as they can and hope everything will turn out great during the debut.

“I think in the end, a bad dress rehearsal means a good show,” Jade said.

The group goes through that rehearsal as if it were the actual show, which usually doesn’t end up being their best performance. While this is the case, it is often a good omen for an incredible incoming show.

“The first show is usually the one where we make a few mistakes,” Jade said.

The following shows become progressively better as the team learns from their errors on past performances, which is what makes such a great difference between the first and final show.

“They’re shaking, they’re sweating. And well, it’s one of their first shows,” Sixto said. “There are some people who are stressed, some people who are just feeling a-okay, and then some people who are great—they’re excited to get out there.”

In the end, once everything has come together, seeing that all their hard work has fallen into place, knowing that every single prop they created, every detail they added into the costumes and every emotion they displayed on stage has left an effect on their expectators is the most rewarding part of it all.

“Seeing what we’ve built, seeing what we’ve created, seeing how everything we built has grown into fruition and everything we worked so hard for is finally out there and people can see it.”