“All right quiet everybody!” As director addresses the cast, senior Ethan Rebec walks onto the stage ready to rehearse “Waiter’s Gallop” from the spring musical “Hello, Dolly!” But Rebec remains unaware this will be the last show to be directed by the school’s famed thespian instructor Maureen Fallon, who retired suddenly due to health concerns related to Covid-19.
“I was kind of surprised that Fallon retired right before the school year,” Rebec said. “But it makes sense with her health conditions that she has been going through the last few years.”
Even though Fallon — the school’s first theater teacher — has retired, she will not soon be forgotten.
“We are going to miss her expertise and experience with theater,” Rebec said. “She has helped the troupe put consistent shows every year while producing superiors at district and state competitions.”
Fellow thespian Genevieve Archibald also has appreciated the memories and experience made during her time with Fallon.
‘‘My favorite moments with Fallon happened when she allowed Ethan and me to direct the One Act Play for Middle School Thespians,” the senior said. “Ethan and I directed a One-Act play that won the Best of Show and got selected to perform at the statewide competition. Her giving us the opportunity to take on a challenge like that was my favorite moment.”
Archibald is looking forward to the opportunity to have a completely student-directed district competition and believes West Shore theater will be more reactive than ever.
“Since Fallon’s retirement was on short notice, AP Language teacher and now Thespian [Club] sponsor [Tom] O’Bryan has volunteered to look over our troupe until West Shore hires a new theater director,’’ Archibald said. “West Shore theater will still be active and the presence of COVID-19 has more of an impact on the troupe than the retirement of Ms. Fallon. The shows will [now] be much more student-involved because we will be helping Mr. O’Bryan direct.”
The school currently is interviewing candidates to be the next drama teacher, but has yet to make a decision.
In the meantime, students are stepping up to fill the void left by Fallon’s retirement. To that end, Rebec and Archibald have both praised sophomore thespians Grant Newcombe and Deklyn Gardner for taking on increased responsibility.
“They have already shown so much leadership and they are a part of every decision we make,” Archibald said.
Newcombe said he’s looking forward to helping write a new chapter in the West Shore theater story.
“I believe that the grades below me have a lot of talented people in them that will be able to take on roles and responsibilities regarding the troupe well,” Newcombe said.” Something always seems to work out. This troupe will have a bright future thanks to the path Fallon has set us on.”