BOB a Life in 5 Acts

Dani Fraher, News Writer

What does it mean to be great? Starting this Friday, Eagan High School’s production of BOB may unveil the answer. “I chose BOB because it’s one of my favorite plays from over the last ten years,” says director Drew Hammond. “[High Schools] don’t often go into very modern, kind of weird shows, and that’s what this is.”

It’s Mr. Hammond’s first time directing a show at Eagan High School, but far from his first time directing, period. He has directed professional shows and coached the Eagan speech team for around the last ten years, which he describes as “mini-directing.” Per the request of Dr. Reikowski, Mr. Hammond agreed to direct the winter play. 

“Oftentimes, high school theatre programs produce shows that people have heard of before,” he says. The show follows the incredibly unusual life of a man named Bob whose one noble goal in life is to be a “Great Man” and who meets a lot of unusual characters along the way.

One of these characters is a woman named Amelia, played by Malissa Albeiz, a foreign exchange student from Germany. “At the beginning of the show, she’s really closed up and scared to try something new,” explains Malissa, “but then she opens up so much and becomes a whole new person.” Malissa has participated in school plays since she was in fifth grade, and she also attended a theatre school for two years. The biggest difference between her experience at home versus Eagan is the amount of time to rehearse. “In Germany, we usually worked on one play for around six months. Here, it’s way shorter.” She says that it’s much more difficult with less time. But even though there’s little time for memorizing lines and getting to know the cast, Malissa is thoroughly enjoying the experience. “[The cast members] are the nicest people ever, and they treat each other so well. Also, Mr. Hammond is a great director, and he helps us grow as actors in so many ways.”

Theatre isn’t without its struggles, such as the shortage of time. Another challenge is the balance between funny and heartfelt. “So much of the show is absurd,” remarks Mr. Hammond. “It’s sometimes hard to switch between the two.” Much of the so-called “dark comedy” is just that — comedic. Yet through all the silly, BOB brings moments that are “not dramatic, per se, but really honest and touching… That’s a hard balance to find.”

The costuming department also bears hurdles, a big one being costume changes, particularly the main character’s. “Bob has so many changes, and he’s on the whole time, so trying to figure out how to make the changes is challenging right now,” says the head of the costume crew, Mrs. Joni Anker. The time period adds another element to the costuming efforts. The show starts with Bob’s birth in the fifties and progresses into his old age in the present. “The fifties aren’t hard, but when the sixties and seventies merge, that’s what gets a little challenging.” Authenticity is not a major concern, though; the main idea with these costumes is to show that time is moving on.

Despite the difficulties that often come with theatre, it’s clear that everyone involved in this production is passionate about it. “It’s a beautiful show about what it means to be great and how we see ourselves in relation to other people,” notes Mr. Hammond. Come see BOB on December 6, 7, 13, and 14 at 7:00 PM and see the school website for tickets.