A Spooky Success

The Theater department hosted a dramatic, haunted doll-house themed walkthrough for students and community members on Oct. 27.


Photo Credit: RUHS Theatre Arts

Marking the second year of the Theatre Department’s Halloween walkthrough, drama students and teachers designed a one-night, haunted dollhouse-themed experience for students and community members to enjoy. Rewarding those who arrived wearing festive attire, the entry cost was $5 with a costume and $7 without. 

On the evening of Oct. 27, the entire theater arts building was transformed into an “eerie, immersive experience”, senior Eva Lopez-Quintana and junior Finn McGonigle said. Lopez-Quintana and McGonigle are both Thespians (students that have successfully completed three shows in the play production course), and were the primary organizers for the walkthrough. Lopez-Quintana’s main goal for the walkthrough was to “draw people in and get them excited for years to come,” using several forms of “eye candy” such as SFX makeup and fellow thespians receiving training in the art of stage combat. 

Lopez-Quintana recalled how the idea of a haunted dollhouse theme came to her long before the thespian troupe began working on the walkthrough experience. 

“I started thinking about [the theme] in May for my interview for the [drama] board position,” Lopez-Quintana said. “[The haunted dollhouse theme] was something that I always wanted to think about doing. But then it really went into full motion in September.” 

Relying on a $175 budget and a timespan of 10 hours stretched throughout a couple of weeks was difficult for Lopez-Quintana and McGonigle, especially while trying to balance their school work and the upcoming production of She Kills Monsters. 

While some challenges of the creation of the walkthrough such as the limited time and balancing schoolwork added stress onto the thespians, the “spooky” experience allowed the department to shine light onto the technical aspects of theater. Particularly, lighting and sound were showcased, with rapidly flickering lights and ominous screams inducing fear and apprehension in attendees. 

“I know that sometimes tech can be pushed behind acting,” McGonigle said. “So [in the walkthrough experience] you can see both of the amazing sides that we have in the drama department.”

The walkthrough began in the hallway of the theater building, decorated with cobwebs, spiders, and do-not-enter caution tape decorating the walls with string dolls hanging from the ceiling. Later on, attendees journeyed to the black box, the stage, and ended in the lobby. The haunted house centered around the theme of possessed dolls and the “legendary” Jake, the auditorium’s resident ghost who has been rumored to haunt the auditorium since the 1940s, according to Melissa Staab, the Theatre Arts director. 

Staab explained that the drama students proposed the idea of a walkthrough fundraiser last year, which resulted in a crowd that was “way bigger than expected.” This led the theater department to repeat the event this year. Despite the walkthrough being a considerable hit last year, the approximate 150 students who attended this year was a “surprising and exciting” number. 

“We had whole families [who attended] and staff members who were bringing in their kids,” Staab said. “I love that it wasn’t just for the high school students. It was really for the larger RBUSD community.”