The Student News Site of Redwood High School

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Molly Gallagher April 18, 2024

On Wednesday, April 17, the boys’ varsity tennis team dominated their match against Archie Williams in the semi-finals of the Marin County...

Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Emma Rosenberg and Penelope Trott April 18, 2024

On April 18, the girls’ varsity lacrosse team battled against the Branson Bulls in a blowout senior day matchup. Prior to the start of...

 embracing his coach senior Auden Braden celebrates his final MCAL regular season game
Boys’ volleyball dominates Marin Catholic on Senior Night
Richard Byrne April 18, 2024

On April 17th, the boys’ varsity volleyball team faced off against Marin Catholic (MC) in a Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) game. The...

EPiC Drama strikes gold with production of ‘The Farm’

On Feb. 2, Redwood’s Ensemble Production Company (EPiC) performed at the prestigious Folsom Lenaea High School Theater Festival. The Lenaea festival is a three-day event that brings together over 1,500 high school students to learn about the arts and has been actively celebrating high schoolers’ artistic skills and encouraging peer collaboration since 1956. EPiC’s rendition of “The Farm” earned a gold medal award. Only six out of 75 high schools from both California and Nevada received this honor. EPiC has periodically won gold awards at this festival, the previously most recent being a gold award for their One Acts last year. The company also performed The Farm on Feb. 1 and 8 at Redwood’s Little Theater and on Feb. 6 at Hall Middle School and Del Mar Middle School.

Calla Hollingsworth, John Gurung and Vel Connelly perform a gritty scene as three cunning pigs: Snowball, Squealer and Napoleon. (Photo by Aanika Sawhney)

“Animal Farm”, a political novel by George Orwell, has been a staple in American schools since it was published in 1945. The classic has been adapted into many forms of entertainment over the years. The story centers on a group of barn animals who, in an attempt to create an equal and free society, rebel against their human farmer, serving as an allegory for communism in Russia. Orwell intended the story to criticize Joseph Stalin during World War II.
Playwright Jon Tracy brought the novel to life in 2016, titling the stage adaptation “The Farm.” His adaptation took a modern twist by incorporating hip-hop elements with the characters rapping throughout the performance. Tracy served as EPiC’s director for this production of “The Farm.” With permission from Tracy, EPiC was able to reduce the original two-hour production to 40 minutes in order for them to perform at the Lenaea Festival.
Senior Calla Hollingsworth has separately presented an Outstanding Performance in Show award for her role as Snowball, the pig. For Hollingsworth, theater has always been meaningful and prominent throughout her life, as she is a four-year drama student and enrolled in the Honors Drama 7-8 course this year.

Calla Hollingsworth portrays the female cart-horse, representing the proletariat worker who confides in Boxer the horse, played by Payton Goldberg. (Photo by Aanika Sawnhey)

Hollingsworth explained how being recognized both individually and collectively as a company felt rewarding after a rigorous rehearsal process.
“[The rehearsal process] was a challenge because there was so much ensemble work and everyone had to be really focused the whole time,” Hollingsworth said. “We pulled it together really well. We all managed to work as a team and I’m really proud of that.”

The dedication of the talented cast played a crucial role in making the play remarkable. Senior drama students Dylan Weir and Miles Doucette share the role of Benjamin, the donkey who stays neutral in the barn animals’ rebellion. As intended by Orwell, the donkey represents intellectual people who do not fight against political corruption. At the time of World War II, Benjamin symbolized bystanders who failed to oppose Stalin’s dictatorship.

Students were given only one month to assemble the entire production of “The Farm,” compared to the typical two to three-month rehearsal process for other EPiC shows.
“Given the amount of time we had, I feel that it turned out well. I always love it when [the audience] recognizes our hard work,” Weir said. “I’m just hoping that they had a good experience and enjoyed the show.”

John Gurung portraying the role of Squealer stares into the audience as Vel Conolly depicting the role of Napoleon propels her hand forward. (Photo courtesy of Aanika Sawnhey)

Despite their limited time, the students were able to craft emotionally taxing scenes that left audiences stunned, including a moment when Boxer the horse is unknowingly led to his death.
“[The scene] was framed beautifully. Just the way that Boxer was getting carried away in the van and everyone was [troubled] because they could see on the back of the truck that he was going to a glue factory. Boxer [said,] ‘why are you worried? I’m going to the hospital,’” Doucette said.

Redwood drama performances have won many awards at the Lenaea High School Theater Festival over the years, emphasizing the strength of the drama program. The EPiC drama students’ efforts did not go unrecognized, as a Gold Medal award once again decorates their hardworking department.
EPiC will be continuing to showcase their productions this upcoming season, including Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and their One Act Festival in March.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Isabelle Davis
Isabelle Davis, reporter
Isabelle Davis is a Junior at Redwood High School and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism Arts and Media. She enjoys running, baking and spending time with her friends.
Madison Bishop
Madison Bishop is a sophomore at Redwood High School and is a reporter for the Advanced Journalism Arts and Media program. She enjoys listening to music, dancing and spending time with loved ones.
Aanika Sawhney
Aanika Sawhney, Senior Staff Writer
Aanika Sawhney is a senior staff writer for the Bark and a senior at Redwood High School. She is part of the drama program and is an executive producer for Redwood TV.