Theater to perform “Wings” weekend of Sept. 29


Krista Fleming

Junior Sophia Wheeler and some of the “Wings” ensemble rehearse the beginning of their show during a dress rehearsal on Sept. 26. This will be the first show Hebron Theatre performs this year and is the lengthened version of what might be their UIL One Act Play show.

The theater department will perform its first show of the school year, the lengthened version of what might be the UIL one-act play, “Wings,” Sept. 29, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 in the auditorium.

“We’re actually doing something kind of different [with it],” head director Scott Crew said. “We’ve added an ensemble to a show that typically doesn’t have one. The ensemble was just a dream I had when I first read the play, and now it’s becoming a reality. It’s kind of cool because the kids are learning a different type of theater than what they’ve done before.”

Crew first did “Wings” when he was teaching at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University, though he said this production was wildly different at the time. The story follows an elderly woman who suffers a disease called aphasia, which makes it hard to communicate properly. What made the play so dear to him was how it helped his mother and him understand what was happening when his grandmother was diagnosed with the same disease. 

“Art being a part of real life is amazing,” Crew said. “We wouldn’t have been able to deal with my grandmother’s aphasia as well [as we did] if I hadn’t done that show. That show really was a blessing.” 

While the show is heavily influenced by the flow of the ensemble, the theater technicians have been asked to get out of their comfort zones as well. 

“The story is an important one to tell, but it’s an unusual one,” technical director Stephanie Berry said. “The technicians are not used to this process because it’s not easy. We have to keep working at it. It can be long, but it challenges them and that’s what’s important.” 

Junior Sophia Wheeler, who plays the lead Emily Stilson, said it was challenging to convey her point through lines that make no sense. This is Wheeler’s first lead role since middle school, and she said she aims to make it count. 

“I want people to realize that she’s an actual human being and she has a personality that isn’t defined by her stroke,” Wheeler said. “She had a life before aphasia. People should see her as real, as a human with opinions and feelings – that’s my goal for this show.” 

Auditions for all performances this year were held on the second day of school, and rehearsals for “Wings” began shortly after. The different theater classes are strictly for learning, which makes every after-school rehearsal more important and demanding of the cast.

“Everyone has a hard part, whether it’s [an] ensemble or lead [role],” senior and secondary lead Shaye Brinkley said. “The days can be grueling for us all, but it’s all worth that feeling we get when we step on the stage and start performing, knowing someone is loving what you do. It’s worth every tedious second.”

Compared to the rest of the shows being performed this year, such as “Sound of Music,” “The Addams Family” and a multitude of children’s shows, “Wings” is as somber as it comes. 

“Maybe not everyone gets it, but we’re creating something that has value and means something,” Crew said. “If you go to the theater and you don’t walk away with something, it’s a waste of time. With this show [and] these kids, we’re serving the higher purpose that theater was always meant to fulfill.”