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Behind the scenes
Times photos: Brenda Steurer The high school cast of The Matchmaker, a play by Thornton Wilder, directed by Brad and Jessica Winchester, will perform at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Monroe High School Performing Arts Center. The box office opens at 6 p.m. Tickets can be reserved for pick up by calling 520-488-9027. Adult tickets are $6; student and senior tickets are $4.
MONROE - Monroe high school students are learning more than acting goes into producing a play.

In Jerome Cherney's stage craft class, students are putting in a lot of work to create the set, provide props, apply the makeup and adjust the sound and lights for the presentation of "The Matchmaker," a play by Thornton Wilder.

Students backstage were still painting sets Saturday, during the play's first dress rehearsal.

Freshman Dominique Schneider; sophomores Kendra Kuehl, Heidi Williams, and Nichole Zumkehr; and senior Tess Seichter were doing double duty as make-up artists and stage set painters.

"We'll eventually be painting bricks," said Abby Schwenn, president of the theater crew, who was overseeing the painting.

Just minutes before, under the direction of art teacher Kathy King, the girls were applying makeup to actors, many of whom needed to look years beyond their age.

"They need lots of makeup and lines - lines, lines, lines, with an eyeliner - to make wrinkles," Schneider said.

Schneider worked as a makeup artist for two years in middle school and said she fell in love with the work.

"I like helping people look their part on stage," she added.

Kuehl said she couldn't get into the production when it first started, but wanted to help by doing makeup.

Sarah Thuston, a junior, also joined the production late, in the hope of increasing her grade point average. Thuston has worked in lighting in previous stage productions, but this year she is responsible for acquiring props and making sure they are in the right places on stage.

Shawn Blum and Sarah Anderson, both seniors, will be behind and above the audience, running the sound equipment for the production.

Neither has previous experience in stage audio technology.

Giving the actors their voice is something new for Blum, who admitted his audio background is limited to car stereos.

Anderson is not new to the stage. She performed in middle school, in Shakespeare on the Edge projects and its core company production of "Hamlet." But she is in the stage craft class for the first time this year.

The most difficult part will be making sure the right microphones are turned on, she said.

Only six weeks in the making, "The Matchmaker," is directed by English teacher Brad Winchester and his wife Jessica, a Title 1 teacher in New Glarus.