Enjoying the ride behind the curtains of Lagniappe

The process of making NT’s favorite show

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Lagniappe is one of the most unique New Trier traditions; not many schools have a production that cracks jokes about their own community. We get to laugh about skits where math teacher Bradley Kuklis, orchestra conductor Peter Rosheger, and Kinetic Wellness teacher Andy Horne all read their Rate My Teacher reviews, but we don’t get to witness the extensive process behind the candidly funny of the final show.

There are many components that go into producing Lagniappe, from writing skits to handpicking music.

The process started at the beginning of April 2018, when board member positions were selected based on a résumé, online application and interview process. Members then attended board meetings where they learned more about their upcoming responsibilities.

One of the main points of contention for the production is what the theme will be, which the co-producers ultimately decided on after the script was put together. We’ve all been privy to the intense stress floating around New Trier, whether it be about schoolwork, our own personal drama, or the ACT. However, the “Enjoy the Ride” sends a different sort of message. “We wanted to take an approach to high school that tells students to sit back, and enjoy the moments that are happening in front of them. It is all too often we are distracted by external forces that we cannot see the amazing things that are happening right in front of us,” explained senior co-producer Josh Hoffman.

After the theme was decided, each crew managed their responsibilities separately before coming together to organize the final product.

“Everyone was individually working on their own parts of the show, and then when all the pieces came together everything worked so well,” remarked senior Eli Friedman, one of two conductors.

Hoffman agreed, “Watching it all come together at the dress is an incredible sight, and the excitement in the Gaffney is exuberant.”

The creators of Lagniappe worked throughout the summer on their individual components in order to prepare for practices during the year.

“From 9:30-4:30 6 days a week before school started, the Gaffney and rehearsal rooms would be busy with scenes, choral work, set construction, dance rehearsals, band number practice and so much more,” explained Hoffman.

Board members also carry heavy the responsibilities as student leaders. Junior Cameron Baba assumed the role of head composer, and her job included overseeing the music writing staff and band over the
last several months.

“My favorite song in this show came about as a result of me and my friend lying on the floor for about four hours complaining about our lack of ideas, but then one came out. The songwriting process is a complicated and funny thing,” said Baba.

For others, such as junior scenic designer Isa Figlioli, Lagniappe involved creating a design for the backdrop that hangs in front of the set for several scenes, and then bringing that designs to life.

“We began by chalking out the design, and then painted it in a “paint by numbers” fashion,” said Figlioli. However, this process isn’t always smooth. Between arranging the band number, transcribing it themselves and putting together 30 individual pieces of music, Friedman acknowledged that there were certainly challenges along the way.

“This was a time-consuming and exhausting process, but we learned a lot,” he said. And according to Figlioli, the scenic team faced a shorter build time for this show, causing students to hone their focus.

Despite any challenges, the actors and creators of Lagniappe came together to create a show that their peers loved, and their dedication was evident on stage.

“Lagniappe fosters such a significant bond in its community because of the nature of the production. It’s a place where artists of all different expertise and passions are able to formulate a production through support and collaboration,” said senior director Andrew Kline.

Many other crew members have also noted this same sense of community, as Kline’s fellow director, senior Chris Sciortino, stated that one of his favorite parts of Lagniappe was being able to collaborate with his peers in a way he never had before.

“Being in a collaborative environment, building characters and scenes provided me with a totally new perspective on theatre as an art form in general,” said Sciortino.

Although many students who are involved in the performing arts participate in Lagniappe since the production is run by the theatre department, senior director Laura Stone noted that the production isn’t just for theatre kids.

“If you’re interested in costuming or writing I highly suggest you get involved,” encouraged Stone. “There are opportunities beyond just theatre related aspects in Lagniappe and it would be awesome if more of the school got involved.”

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