G.I. warfare


“State,” junior Joy Woods said. “Always state.”

Once a year, H-F’s theatre department participates in the Group Interpretation event sanctioned by the IHSA.

Group Interpretation, also known as GI, is a 30-minute competitive theatre performance that mimics the stylings of ancient Greek plays.

“GI is an exciting opportunity that shapes actors in a way that nothing else can,” junior Maddie Moxley said. “It has allowed me to really examine every move I make in a show and the motives behind each move.”

Students have come back to their theatre family year after year to improve their abilities in an activity they’ve come to enjoy.

“I first participated in GI last year as a sophomore,” junior Maddie Moxley said. “It’s been a long journey over a year that I’ve been a part of GI.”

According to the H-F Group Interpretation webpage, it is a “version of any type of literature that is then performed with a uniform costume on a minimalistic set. Sound effects are permitted but no lighting, specific costuming properties or makeup.”

The GI team is coached by English teacher Janine Stroemer and first year assistant-coach Alan Reynolds.  

Reynolds is an H-F alumnus who participated in GI during his high school career.

During his years here, the GI team  won state for their performance of Lysistrata, a comedic play by Aristophanes.

Every year, the students and coaches involved in the program have one goal: state.

“We have the talent and the work ethic to make it [to state],” Woods said. “There isn’t a reason why we shouldn’t.”

Throughout the years, H-F’s GI teams have brought back first and twelfth place victories.

Last year’s performance, Better Nate Than Ever, brought back an eleventh place victory.

Many people in cast and crew for this year’s GI performance have claimed this as their first year doing the activity.

“I joined theatre just this year,” Woods said. “I figured since my time was so limited because I’m a junior, I should try everything. GI was on that list of everything.”

The few times they’ve met for rehearsals have been focused on getting to know each other and how to work better as a unit.

GI state takes place the Sangamon auditorium at the the University of Illinois in Springfield on March 24 and 25.

The returning student participants are the experienced leaders in the show.

Students such as senior Will Knox have been involved in theatre since they began here.

“This is my third year being a part of GI,” Knox said. “I was in the crew freshman year, I took leave sophomore year, I was in the cast junior year and I’m in the cast one more time this year.”

Students like Knox are hopeful for a state win to put a cap on their last GI performance in high school.

The GI team has about two to three weeks of rehearsal after they compete at the Southwest Suburban Conference.

“We’ve only met twice,” Woods said. “So far, it’s getting to know the ensemble better.”

They then have sectionals where around 40 schools go to one designated high school for competitions.

They perform their pieces in front of judges who select three schools to compete in state competitions.

Between competitions, the team goes back to rehearsals to build their group appearance and put together shows they are proud of.

“If warm ups are as good as they are, I can’t imagine what putting the actual show together will be like,” Woods said.  

With effort they’ve put in thus far, the team stays optimistic thorough the long rehearsal nights and heavy work loads.

“GI is incredibly stressful and difficult at times, but overall it has helped me to concentrate as an actor,” Moxley said.