Dividing the Estate Marks Last Main Stage Show of the School Year for BVN Theatre

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On April 3, the curtain opened to BVN’s production of Dividing the Estate, a dark comedy by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Horton Foote. Set in 1980s Texas, it tells the story of a dysfunctional family counting down the days until the death of the aging matriarch, Stella Gordon. Only then will they be able to divide the estate and claim their inheritances. Within the confines of a single living room, sibling rivalries and old grievances are revived as each character fights for the largest possible share.

Auditions took place during the last week of February, and rehearsals began that same week.

“We did the show in like 18 rehearsals, and usually there’s at least 30 or, you know, higher 20s,” cast member Reece Melber said.“We really didn’t have a lot of time to put the show together, and the fact that we were able to do it at all is just really awesome.”

Senior Holly Rassette played Stella, and for her, portraying an elderly physicality and learning her lines in a short period of time were some of the biggest challenges she faced.

“It was really difficult because in everything you do, it’s the way you sit and the way you move in a chair and the way you get up and the way you walk,” Rassette said. “So you constantly have to be thinking about how to act old, but also how to keep your lines and everything.”

Given the play’s uniquely wry tone, Melber remarked that bringing the subtleties of Foote’s writing to life was an intellectually stimulating experience.

“I liked [the play] a lot, reading it,” Melber said. “I think that there’s a lot of things that would [have been] better with more rehearsals, because it’s really the way you deliver each line that makes it funny. It’s a lot of smart humor.”

This was theater director Max Brown’s last main stage show before he resumes his retirement at the end of the school year. Both Rassette and Melber expressed gratitude that Brown came back to take over the department for the year.

“He was ready [to retire],” Melber said. “He really came back just to help us seniors, because he’d had us as freshmen, and he cared about us and cared about the legacy of theatre at North. … It’s a lot work to be a theatre teacher. You have to do so much outside of school. It’s like a life commitment. … and he did it for us, which is kind of awesome.”

Although the curtain has closed on BVN theatre’s 2018-19 main stage season, the department still several more performances lined up for this year. Comedy troupe Murphy’s Law will perform on April 19 and 25 at 7:00 PM. On April 29 and 30, the two Repertory Theatre classes will perform at 5:00 and 7:30 PM.

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