RYE, N.Y. - Starting on Friday evening, students in Rye High School's drama club, the Parsons Street Players, will take the stage to perform George Orwell's allegorical novella turned play, "Animal Farm."
The plot centers on a group of anthropomorphic farm animals who overthrow their English farmer and become the only animal-operated farm in England. The story is believed to be an allegory for the conditions in Russia leading up to World War II and the formation of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.
Rye High School Sophomore Laura Cassidy said the production is a little different than a traditional high school performance.
"It's a new experience," Cassidy said. "We've been experimenting with the spring play. This takes a more serious approach."
The performance calls for the students to wear hats depicting the heads of the animals they portray. As if playing another species wasn't difficult enough, many of the students in the production are asked to play multiple roles.
"It's strange not playing a person," senior Scott O'Brien said. "It's one of the most unique performances I've been a part of."
The students said the key to harnessing each individual character comes from "embracing the essence" of each animal. In order to best "embrace the essence," students took a trip to a farm to observe the movements and characteristics of their respective animals.
"It's a new way to look at a classic story," O'Brien said. "Big sets, big costumes, very meaningful, it's a very different theater-going experience."
The play will premiere at 8 p.m. Friday at the Rye High School auditorium. There will also be two performances Saturday, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.