GREENSBURG — The last time she participated in a production with the South Decatur High School (SDHS) Drama Department, Amanda Gault was an SDHS senior playing one of the leads in the 2006 Spring Production.
On Thursday night, Mrs. Gault – as she’s now known by students – stepped back to the SDHS stage, this time behind the scenes, in a decidedly different role compared to her days as a student actress.
Gault is directing SDHS’s 2013 fall production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which began Thursday night and will be presented again tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m., at SDHS. “Todd” is the first time the SDHS US History and AP Government teacher has ever served as a director.
As a student, she recalled, she participated in productions of “Grease,” “The Little Shop of Horrors,” “School House Rocks Live” and “Harvey.”
“It’s a very different experience – being behind the scenes,” Gault said. “But I’ve really enjoyed returning to the stage and working with the kids; coming back has been a great feeling.”
Gault and her student actors began work on the production in early September, and have practiced “almost every day since” – even during fall break.
“It been very challenging and time consuming,” Gault said, “but very worthwhile; I think the audience is going to really enjoy this [production].”
Gault readily admitted that “Sweeney Todd” isn’t a family-friendly show. She was quick to add, however, that the SDHS version will be significantly tamer than either the traditional stage version or the film versions.
“My seniors love Sweeney Todd,” she explained. “It’s their last musical, and they really wanted to do it, so I had to search for a ‘PG’ school version. I didn’t even know if one had ever been made.”
Gault found exactly what she was looking for in a “Sweeny Todd” version by Music Theatre International. The SDHS show includes the murders of the original productions, but none of the blood and only the suggestion of actual violence.