Highland Park native David Solotke always knew he wanted to teach but never knew what. Theatre education first peaked his interest when he was a sophomore at HPHS and he became involved in Stunts.
“I loved that at the beginning of the year I always had a sense of place and a sense of family because I was in Stunts,” he said.
Stunts is a student written and produced original musical that is the Fine Arts
Department’s first theatre production of the year. Students are in charge of the entire show; they write the story in the late spring and summer, hold auditions, lead rehearsals, design the sets, and are in charge of all other facets of production.
While at HPHS, Solotke went from actor to co-director of Stunts and remembers it as one of his favorite parts of high school. Upon graduation, he headed to Illinois
State to study Theatre Education. Now---eight years after he left Highland Park
High School---he finds himself back at his alma-mater working as a teacher in
the Theatre Department.
“It’s amazing, it really is,” he said of the opportunity to not only teach at HPHS
but work alongside his role models like HPHS Theatre Directors Scott Shallenbarger and Tim Conway. “Part of my dream was that I would be able to work together with them again.”
Just like in high school, Solotke finds himself focusing all of his attention on Stunts, but in a slightly different way, “Students dub Stunts student-theatre-under-no-teacher-supervision,” he joked about his new role. “But it really is student theatre with a little teacher supervision.”
This year’s musical is entitled “Stunts in the Name of Love 2013.” The story revolves around a time traveler who has to convince a cynical young woman that love does exist in order to return to his true love in an earlier century.
With Stunts just a few days away, Solotke couldn’t be prouder of his team, “The biggest lesson I think the production board learns is just how hard it is to produce a show,” he said. “One of the biggest markers for each board is how they overcome the challenges that pop up. I’ve noticed that this year’s group is doing a great job of working together to solve whatever problem may arise.”
Solotke has truly enjoyed watching “all of the discoveries students make as they work through” the Stunts production and is excited to be part of the process again. “Being able to pass on all of the lessons and the confidence this school gave me is a really good feeling.”
“Stunts in the Name of Love 2013” will be presented on October 11, 12, and 13 at 7:30 P.M. in the Highland Park High School Auditorium. Tickets are $10.