CPGI builds storytelling for competition

CPGI is preparing to compete and perform their new shows.


The Encore! group interpretation (GI) cast prepares to perform at competition through team-building and creativity. Photo provided by Lily Bassett

Hayley Breines, A & E Editor

CPGI, Encore!’s competition theater troupe, is preparing their two shows to compete at the IHSA Theatre Sectionals on Mar. 20-21. CP (contest play) and GI (group interpretation) are two separate shows that work together to represent Central at the IHSA theater competition. The preparation behind these shows is crucial to the success CPGI garnered last year when GI went to state, a result from their performance at sectionals.

CP, directed by Lauren Tracy, is preparing to present These Shining Lives, while GI, directed by Maureen Ritter, is re-inventing Matilda.

According to Ritter, “[The contest play] is historical and it’s also rooted in a real story… and the group interpretation…is much more comedic. It’s Matilda, a children’s show, which gives the cast a lot of freedom to sort of act in bigger, broader, more over the top ways.”

The actors, as well as directors Ritter and Tracy, are working to build the show’s scripts, sets, and scenes. Creating the scripts can pose a challenge as both shows must be performed within a time restraint.

“I’m making it a 40 minute cut of a full length script, and there’s a lot of challenges that come with that-what lines do I cut out, do I cut whole scenes, and [deciding] the process for that,” Tracy said.

GI does not require a traditional set. Instead, the actors, with the help of blocks or risers, create
the setting elements through blocking. However, CP requires a large set that must be able to transport to the competition from Central. As well as crew, the cast must work on the setting and costume elements along with their performance.

“The crew is building the sets for the two performances… they’re also working on costumes and lighting and paint…and then the cast is rehearsing and creating their show. Contest play is going through the process of blocking and character development and group interpretation is building their show from the ground up,” Ritter said.

Despite challenges, the cast is excited to compete with a new set of shows and boost their camaraderie.

“I am very excited for this year’s show because I’ve become very close to my teammates, and I’m excited to see the other contest play as well…they’re two very empowering, really great shows that I’m very proud our company’s doing,” sophomore GI member Amanda Barry said.