The Periwig Club aims to encourage Lawrenceville students to participate in theatre and foster a passion for drama. The group is run by Co-Presidents Jack Chou ’23 and Stephanie Xu ’23, who are also, respectively, the Co-Head of Tech and Head of the Fall Musical.
Chou has been interested in theatre productions even before joining Periwig. “When I was a kid, I liked to watch behind the scenes parts of movies [because] I wanted to see how they filmed the whole movie,” he said. During his first year at Lawrenceville, Chou was the technical director for the 2020 II Form Shakespeare production of King Lear.
Because of his technical experience, Chou now manages the behind-the-scenes of the Periwig Scene Shop, such as “building scenery, working with lights and sounds, [and] backstage managing.” Activities in Periwig cover a broad range of skills within the discipline of theatre, including acting, set-building, and directing, and Chou himself has learned many of them, including “woodworking…and setting up sounds and lights,” he said.
Periwig’s main focus right now is preparing for the upcoming Fall Musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. Chou is also excited for Winterfest, a student-led and student-produced play series put on during the Winter Term, as it is one of his “favorite productions throughout the entire year. It’s very relaxing, because student directors get to schedule their own time to rehearse,” he noted.
In addition to finishing the sets and planning for the upcoming production, Chou has also been very focused on recruiting new people to join Periwig, as involvement in the club declined during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Covid-19 meant that new students came in and didn’t really have the experience of watching a Lawrenceville musical production in the fall, which is a big part of why I initially joined,” Chou explained.
Xu, the Stage Manager of the Fall Musical, explained that “stage management really works to ensure that the different moving parts of a production are all on the same page.” Whether it be costumes, tech, scenery, acting, or directing, Xu is in charge of ensuring that the play as a whole runs smoothly. Specifically, some of her responsibilities include “calling the cues for the lights and sound” and deciding “where props and actors should go.”
Xu joined Periwig as a II Former as the stage manager for King Lear. During both her III Form and IV Form year, Xu was part of the Periwig Council, and she is “excited to continue [Periwig] traditions” this year as the club’s president. These traditions include the annual Fall Musical, Winterfest, Broadway Cabaret, II Form Shakespeare, and the newly reintroduced Spring Play.
Xu is especially looking forward to the production of The Drowsy Chaperone, noting that “it’s been really exciting getting to be in rehearsals and watching our talented cast work on music, choreography, and acting.” In addition to the process of watching the production slowly come together, Xu also appreciates that the show itself is “fun [and] comedic.”
Similar to Chou, Xu is hoping to recruit new members to join Periwig this year to expand the club and promote theatre throughout the student body. “We try to make sure that we’re incorporating people who aren’t necessarily artists but who can enjoy art,” she said. Xu’s view is that playing a time-consuming sport or having other extracurricular commitments should not discourage an individual from fostering an appreciation for the arts and trying out for something that they might enjoy. “Just because you’ve never done theatre before doesn’t mean you can’t try out for Winterfest or the play reading series…We want to make sure that we’re getting as many people as possible,” she explained.
Overall, Periwig is a great place for students to support the arts at Lawrenceville and nurture their passion for theatre. The club is always looking for new students to get involved, and with a plethora of new shows coming up this year, there’s no better time to get started!