Acting with accents

The fall play, “Southern Hospitality,” makes its way to Omaha


Photo courtesy of Brooke Phillips

The cast of the fall play, Southern Hospitality, meets with an accent coach over Zoom to perfect their southern accents for the show and create cohesiveness between one another. Each actor was able to test out ways to manipulate their voice and practiced a variety of different sounds. “We learned how we can change our voices by something as simple as the move of a tongue,” junior Kaden Frazier said. “Having everyone talk with the same accent really made the show pop out and made the town of Fayro feel like a real community.”

Kaitlin Reynolds, News Director

On the nights of Sept. 2, 3 and 4, the drama department brought the south to the midwest and took to the stage to perform their fall play: “Southern Hospitality.”

The light hearted show focused around their theme for the year: community. The plot followed a group of four sisters, who worked together throughout the play, to save their beloved home of Fayro by taking elaborate measures to convince a salsa factory owner to expand to the town.

The cast of 13 actors, 50 crew members and five production managers began working on the play in late July and early August. Before the school year commenced they put in a total of 24 rehearsal hours, and for the first couple weeks of the semester they practiced each day after school to prepare.

“At first I wrote down and practiced my lines on my own to get a feel for and idea of how to portray them,” junior Jake Mason, who plays John Curtis Bunter, said. “The cast got together multiple times to run lines, and as we moved into the school year both cast and crew met to bring the show together. It was a little stressful in the last few weeks, but overall it worked out super well and was incredibly fun.”

Set in Texas, the play incorporates a heavy southern accent from each of the cast members. In order to unify the dialect of their voices an accent coach met with the group. During the session, the actors learned how to adjust their natural accents to southern ones and worked with one another to ensure cohesiveness. The workshop helped to provide the actors with a more realistic-sounding accent and give the show a more authentic feel.

“Working with an accent coach was really fun and we learned a lot from just an hour and a half rehearsal,” junior Ella Sietner, who plays Gina Jo Waverly, said. “I think the accent coach made the show better because it helped all of us actors have the same southern accent so it looked and sounded like we were part of the same family.”

This year’s fall play focused on bringing a little laughter to its viewers after over a year of difficult abnormality. The comical production incorporated jokes, spontaneous plot twists and even imaginary friends.   

“I just hope the audience had fun and let out a laugh or two,” drama director Brooke Phillips said. “This isn’t a super deep message or something really intellectual that will change their outlook on life. This is a fun little farce and I hope they had fun with the jokes.”

The play’s humorous plot provided both those involved in the production and the audience with a breath of fresh Texas air.