Behind the scenes as “Get Smart” prepares for opening night

Cast, crew prepare for three performances of the Watertown High fall play on Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m., 7 p.m.)


Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick

The cast and crew of “Get Smart” at Watertown high School began rehearsal Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2021, by setting up the set with props made during tech week.

Adrian Schick, Raider Times staff

Even with the fall play days away, the cast and crew of Watertown High School’s “Get Smart” are going strong. In the last week before the curtain goes up for the first time Friday, Nov. 19, they have been meeting in the auditorium to practice and rehearse for up to six hours a day.

They start casually as props are moved, actors arrive in the auditorium, and the set is prepared. Then, they begin.

The play has been in the making at WHS for two months. The show is an offshoot of the 1965 comedy television show “Get Smart,” in which a witless American counterintelligence agent named Maxwell Smart (also known as Agent 86) accidentally and continually counters the machinations of the crime organization KAOS with his partner, Agent 99, under the supervision of The Chief.

There are many different parts to putting on a performance,” stated play director Robin Wilson. “All of the cast and crew have been working together as a group to fully prepare this show for its performances.”

Nevertheless, like with every live show, the making didn’t go off with a hitch. 

“There were many problems in the making of the show,” remarked Kiran Owens, the lead actor. “Cues being forgotten, lights and sound issues, et cetera.”

Kiran Owens, who is playing Maxwell Smart in “Get Smart” at Watertown High this weekend, goes all in during a rehearsal Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2021.
(Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick)

However, the difficulties were a mere few of a show’s very complicated making, which would come in three phases: The casting, the technical elements, and the rehearsals.

The casting kicked off the show’s production with a range of talented actors. Its two main roles were both filled by freshmen, with one being filled by Kiran Owens (Maxwell Smart) in his very first performance, and another being filled by Avery Macdonald (99).

Some of the cast and crew have done this before, while others were brand new at doing a show, so it was nice having everyone working together and teaching each other the ways of theatre,” noted Ms. Wilson.

The technical elements also played a big role in the play’s making. At the start of a practice session, the speakers are tested by playing music (which has included Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off,” and the Sprite Cranberry commercial theme). The lights, which have been pre-set for certain scenes, brighten and dim before the rehearsal starts, and props that were made during “tech week” are moved on and off the stage for different scenes. 

“The crew was mostly on top of things — they did a fantastic job working the lights and Socks [Farrar] was amazing for being basically the one stage crew member,” praised Owens.

Versailles Leaf, who is playing Agent 13, reviews the script of “Get Smart” during rehearsal Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick)

Once the stage has been set and the crew’s work is done, the lights dim. The actors, already in costume, step to the stage. The scene is called and the crew watches on as the cast begins the rehearsal.

“The cast are all awesome people who are extremely dedicated to the success of the show,” complimented Owens. “The input from the cast affected the behind-the-scenes process in many ways.”

The members of the cast use every moment that they can to practice. Even days away from the opening night, they were going over their scripts, noting forgotten lines and refining cues. 

Cues, lines, and props later, they finish a rehearsal, becoming more prepared for their final performances with every passing day.

“At times it was stressful, especially during tech week,” admitted Ms. Wilson. “But in the end, they have all done an amazing job, and were able to put together an amazing show!”

(“Get Smart” will be performed at Watertown High School for three shows: Friday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults; and $5 for seniors and children 10 and under.)

–Nov. 19, 2021–