An Art of its Own

Chloe Kapica, Feature Writer

For years, this form of theater has stood out from the rest, shaping the way modern theater is done today, but no one knows about it.

Group Interpretation is a form of competitive theater where actors have a uniform costume and perform in a 30 minute time span as well as use a constrained set.

A constrained set consists of certain set pieces that fit with the story line. For example, last year’s performance of Jekyll and Hyde allowed the performers to sit in groups and move freely on the stage, whenever they wanted.

English teacher Janine Stroemer has been in charge of G.I. for 15 years and has loved every single minute of it.

“It’s a group of people who have to progress a story. There has to be elements of group work which is group movement, group speaking, and the kind of creative aspect that is not just staging,” said Stroemer.

Senior Jacob Rodriguez has been apart of Group Interpretation for three years and loves performing underneath the spotlight.

“I would have to say my favorite G.I. would be my state performance for the play Better Nate Than Ever where I played Nate. It was my first experience with G.I. and made me fall in love with the competition season,” said Rodriguez.

Senior Michael Kennedy has been a part of G.I. for a year and enjoys working with others. The limited set pieces do not bother him.

“At first I was a little scared, but doing this type of show really challenges your acting skills. You become more of a physical actor. You really focus on emotion and what you can bring to the ensemble or individual character,” Kennedy said.

Back in the 1970’s, students used to use books during their play. This type of theater was called Chamber Theater.

“When I came to HF one year, I think it was 2007- we got rid of books and other people started getting rid of books. HF kind of messes up what people think a little bit. We still get accused of not being a group interpretation. They say we are too much like a play,” said Stroemer.

This coming season, there are multiple students trying out who have never been a part of this unique type of performance. But people like freshman, Miranda Esparza, are looking forward to being apart of this unique type of production even if they don’t get a part.

“I am not expecting a part. G.I. is a big deal within theatre and parts are mostly reserved for juniors, seniors, and sophomores. I am super excited for auditions and expect nothing less than amazing from the cast of this year’s Group Interpretation,” said Esparza.

Although, there are people like junior, Barbara Burns, who have experience on the stage, but have never participated in G.I.

“I expect to have another amazing year where we can express important messages through our art,” said Burns.

With such an unimaginable and rare form of theater, it’s incredible that a small school such as HF has the opportunity to be a part of a competition only found in Illinois.