Students Put Experimental Theater in the Spotlight with 'Chat Boat'

By Martin, Michelle | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 2, 1996 | Go to article overview

Students Put Experimental Theater in the Spotlight with 'Chat Boat'


Martin, Michelle, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Michelle Martin Daily Herald Staff Writer

It's sort of a stream of consciousness, Pulp Fiction-ish, Love Boat kind of thing.

"Chat Boat," Barrington High School's newest foray into experimental theater is nothing if not experimental.

The play, put together by student directors Jeff Galfer and Derick Loafmann, centers on eight characters together on a boat.

Each character has a monologue, which leads into a scene from an existing play. A total of eight popular plays make up "Chat Boat."

All of the characters, and all of the scenes end up relating to each other.

"If you're a smart audience member, you see all the connections," said Galfer, a Barrington Hills junior.

"Chat Boat" is the school's second experimental theater production this year. The shows are sponsored by the Barrington High School Mask and Wig Club.

Galfer and Loafmann, a Barrington junior, came up with the idea and got it approved by club sponsor Jon Lynn last month.

The school only does two experimental theater productions a year, and they are all written, produced and directed by students.

In addition to coming up with the concept and writing the transitions between scenes, Galfer and Loafmann found cast members and practice space, and a teacher to supervise them.

English teacher Alan Sanders supervises rehearsals mostly by sitting in the same room and doing his own work, and then occasionally answering a pop-culture question.

Loafmann and Galfer are the ones in charge of the session, with Loafmann sitting in the back of the room listening and exhorting the actors to raise their volume and their energy level.

Galfer stays closer, making suggestions on how the students should move, and occasionally demonstrating for them.

When Brian Gruber and Lisa Stepien, a Hoffman Estates junior, practice "The Sure Thing," Galfer shows Gruber how he can become four different characters just by the way he sits and holds (or wears) his glasses.

When Gruber, a sophomore from Barrington, doesn't do it to Galfer's satisfaction the first time, Galfer shows him again. …

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