Savannah Smith (center), who plays Eliza Doolittle in the play, "My Fair Lady," works through a dress rehearsal Tuesday at Aptos High School.
APTOS — Bringing the classic comedic play “My Fair Lady” to Aptos High School stage will bring full-circle the stories of both the drama teacher and student who plays lead role.
Theater Arts teacher Stacy Aronovici said the production was her first when she became credentialed 20 years ago.
“It’s one of the reasons I chose it,” she said.
Savannah Smith, who plays Eliza Doolittle, said she grew up watching both versions of the play with Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn acting that role.
“I’m grateful to have a role with such a strong woman,” she said.
The play features cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle who meets linguistic expert Henry Higgins.
Higgins complains in a song about how the lower-class people speak English:
“Look at her! A prisoner of the gutters, condemned by every syllable she utters! By rights she ought to be taken out and hung, for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue.”
After that, however, Higgins makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can transform Eliza into a “proper lady.”
Smith said she found it challenging to fill the role of a strong female character who nevertheless allows herself to be reshaped by a male character.
“It’s so difficult because she’s so bold and full of life,” Smith said. “She’s not afraid of anything and can stand up for herself. It’s really hard to navigate that line of where she will let herself be pushed.”
“I hope this message will be received by the young women in the audience,” she added.
Aronovici also said she chose the play – known for its musical and dancing numbers – to give students skilled in those disciplines a chance to shine.
To bring authenticity to the play, which is set in Edwardian London, the students relied on an AHS graduate from England, who coached them in the Queen’s English and the cockney accent.
“We have worked incredibly hard, and this group has really grown together,” said lighting manager Emma Roberson. “This is one of the biggest productions I’ve done.”
“My Fair Lady” will preview at Aptos High School on March 23 at 7 p.m. It opens March 26 at 3 p.m. and runs March 30 and 31 at 7 p.m., and April 1 and 2 at 7 p.m.
Doors open 30 minutes before curtain. For information and tickets, visit www.aptoshs.net.
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