The Outsiders: From Paper to Theatre

Jason Liu
Dallas (Darian Boosheri) staring down at Bob's (Brodie Nauss) corpse.

Adapted from SE Hinton’s The Outsiders, the play by Saints’ Players, in association with Crofton House School, Little Flower Academy, and St. Patrick’s School, brought Ponyboy’s story to the stage. Students from Grades 8-10 rehearsed for four months prior to their performances on March 6th-8th.

Sidney Tiansay, a Grade 10 student from LFA who acted as the Nurse, shared her thoughts on working with Saints’ Players.

“One thing theatre has given me is my friends. Working with actors from other schools has always been a great way to meet people with the same passion for acting. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with two Saints’ Players Productions now including last school year’s “Paint Your Wagon” and now “The Outsiders.” That being said I’ve had the privilege with working with some people for a second time and also getting to know new faces. Being a part of a cast is almost like having a second family as you are having to spend endless hours after school and weekends together.”

Tiansay says that, “As I’m writing this on the day after closing night: I currently have a flood of Facebook notifications from cast members on our group page. Everyone is congratulating each other on the success of our show and thanking one another for the memories. It’s a bittersweet feeling having put on a great production but it also means having to say goodbye to the fun long hours and the people you’ve spent the last 4 months with. “The Outsiders” involved a great group of talented, supportive people and I would 100% do it all over again.”

With a variety of actors came a variety of personalities. Most notably, Two-Bit (Jimmy Kwan) pulled off a spectacular show as the clown of the play. One of the harder characters to impersonate, timid Johnny Cade was brought to life by Luc Maurer.

Jimmy “Two-Bit” Kwan, a Grade 10 student from SGS, explained his part in the play.

“Two-Bit is the upbeat comic relief of all the greasers and everyone gets along with him. At first glance, he’s just your typical happy go lucky rowdy type Greaser, but at heart, he’s really a good guy who cares a lot for his fellow friends. He has a great disdain for Socs like any other Greaser, and when it comes to Socs picking fights with his friends, he knows when to get serious.”

Luc Maurer, a Grade 8 student from SGS, revealed how he prepared for his role.

“I made a deliberate, pre-made plan of how I wanted to portray the character. I acknowledged certain traits of Johnny from both the novel and script, which I then systematically incorporated into the act as best as I possibly could. For example, his nerves came off as a stutter, and you could see his confidence shrink with every tug on his jeans jacket. I didn’t take the same precautions with my lines, though. Once I knew the basic tone of what I was trying to say, I played with variations in volume and speed- just to see what sounded better.”

Throughout the play, there were multiple fight scenes between the Socs and Greasers. Without a doubt, there was tremendous effort put into rehearsing those sections.

Steve Kim, a Grade 9 student from SGS who acted as Randy Adderson, shared some backstage information.

“Fortunately, we had a fight choreographer that Ms. Van Rijin happened to know, Mr. Bro, and he implemented the fluidity in the fight scenes. Every day after school we practiced slowly, using what rooms were available, going back when it didn’t look realistic enough. Without Mr. Bro’s guidance and Ms. Van Rijn’s acting provision, we wouldn’t have managed to pull off a believable fight.”

Since the plot doesn’t change, lighting and stagecraft was what really transformed The Outsiders into “The Outsiders.” With the use of warm and cold lights, spectators could recognize the changes in tone and mood throughout the play.

Director Catriana Van Rijn revealed her intentions behind the lighting.

“As The Outsiders is a memory play, I wanted the lighting to take on a dynamic role to help Ponyboy tell his story. The script had multiple rapid scene changes, and I thought it would be appropriate to help define spaces on stage using light and contrasting shadows. Hard and sharp angles were intentionally used to express this dark and angst world that the Greasers live in. Along with the help of Mr.Stadel, we were able come up with a solid lighting concept that allowed for smooth transitions and expressed the character’s moody world.”

Van Rijn also explained the changes she made to make the play work.

“The play script (written by Christopher Sergel) took large sections of text from the original SE Hinton novel. Although we did not completely change the play script, I looked at what the text had to offer in terms of direction and made some modifications in order to tell a clearer story. Since the original story took place in 1964, some of the language (to today’s actors) felt outdated and stilted, so there were some modifications made. There were many creative meetings in terms of set design, lighting and costume to support the play’s dramatic action. Actors were given homework to research their roles and to figure out what the relationships were on stage. These performance and technical elements help to keep a play cohesive.”

“The Outsiders” was a great way to conclude Term 2. We look forward to the next Saints’ Players production!