Drama Department Creates Magic, Joy

Katelyn Ervin, Co-Editor in Chief

The Puyallup High School Drama Department is presenting Cinderella: Enchanted Edition at 7 p.m. in the auditorium March 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18, with tickets being sold for $12 at the door or online.  

Peter Sirl is the director of the musical and explains the importance of seeing live theater and the process of picking a musical.  

“The vocal director, music director and me decide based on who’s around, who we think could pull off a given musical. We also think about how many people are going to come and watch. [We consider] name recognition, ‘Cinderella’ is a recognizable name, so we’re confident that we can get people to show up,” Sirl said. 

Though Sirl directs the musical, he emphasizes that he is an actor first and encourages others to support their peers.  

“To get out and see live theater, I think that, and I’m biased, not enough people go see live theater, the art form itself is very special and unique. It is collaborative, it takes lots of people to create a piece of art,” Sirl said.  

With everybody involved, time management can be a stressor for all. Sirl says the struggle for the cast and crew has always been about managing time.  

“Right now, our costumers are here and need to fit people, but those people need to be here. Our costumers have a limited amount of time and Mr. Ryan and musicians have a limited amount of time and managing all those tiny chunks of time and puzzling them together is difficult,” Sirl said.  

Behind the scenes, Sirl is painting and creating sets after school and on the weekend, but he appreciates the unity between the cast and producers.  

“Even though I love working alone painting or building a set, I love the collaboration. A whole bunch of individuals that agreed to do [the musical] together and do it well,” Sirl said. “The collaborative nature of theatre is wonderful.” 

Sirl says he enjoys watching actors grow with their roles and engage with their characters.  
“As a director, I love knowing that I get to be part of the growth experience of other actors and have them, the kids, engage in experiences where they have these beautiful moments, and they realize that they can create a moment where they can make the audience cry or laugh,” Sirl said. 

Sirl says most students who decide to join theatre end up joining for the three years they spend at PHS and appreciates that he is a part of their acting experience.  

“If they can walk out of here after three years with a substantial, useable [set of acting tools], going to college and do theater, in the community or even professional theater, they’ve already got some tools when they arrive, they don’t go in empty handed,” Sirl said.  

Sirl emphasizes the community and safe space musical theatre provides to the cast after a school day.  

“We’re there for each other and it’s safe. It’s super safe to be us and make mistakes,” Sirl said.  

Sophomore Jack Murdock plays the role of Prince Christopher in the musical.  

“He’s more of a plot device than a character but is trying to find himself and separate himself from his role of the prince and make himself more of a person because he’s been living in his parents shadow his whole life,” Murdock said. 

Murdock shares the experience he has had acting and the impact it has left on his life. 

“My uncle did [theater] back when I was about five years old. He was brotherly to me; we lived in the same house at the same time. He did ‘Guys and Dolls’ at the Puyallup Children’s Theater, so I thought I would try it out. After I tried, I continued to do [theatre] because it was fun and gave me attention,” Murdock said.  

Murdock walks through the steps of a typical rehearsal.  

“A common rehearsal usually involves either Sirl, or our dance director, Charlie laying out what we will do for the day,” Murdock said. “Then, we continue to do scenes, dances or numbers throughout the entire rehearsal from 3-5:30 p.m.” 

Murdock also says that coming to rehearsal every day can be a coping strategy. 

“I get to see lot of positive people that I like at the end of a usually stressful school day, so it’s a nice way to lay off steam. It’s also fun to build something up with people, so when I do that, I feel more accomplished and prouder of myself,” Murdock said. 

Murdock shares one of his favorite memories working on the musical this year.  

“During rehearsal, we were practicing one of our dances for the first time and it just clicked. Everyone got it at the same time. It was nice to see something we were working on for two weeks at that point, finally come together,” Murdock said.