Theater dabbling in new genre with “Trap”


Nandini Muresh

The Cowboy Theatre Company performs their production of “Trap” by Stephen Gregg during the dress rehearsal in the Coppell High School Black Box Theatre on Tuesday. “Trap” opens on Friday at 7 p.m.

Manasa Mohan, Advertising and Circulation Manager

Unsettling. Intriguing. A psychological thriller.

These are all words Coppell High School theater director Karen Ruth uses to describe the Cowboy Theatre Company’s upcoming “Trap” production. The play opens on Friday at the Black Box Theatre at 7 p.m., followed by performances on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. 

The show is a documentary-style play where throughout the course of interviews and flashbacks, the audience begins to piece together what happened to a group who went to view a play at their local high school and fell unconscious soon after. 

Each performance has a limited capacity of 100 seats, with tickets costing $5 for students and $10 for adults. Cash or check is accepted at the door.

“We’ve never done a documentary-style piece,” Ruth said. “It’s a psychological thriller, which is another type of genre we haven’t dabbled in. That makes it very fun and interesting for us all.” 

During the play, the cast attempts to unearth what happened when every member, but one, of an audience of a high school play fell unconscious. The production uses interviews from first responders, loved ones, investigators and witnesses to determine what happened that fateful night. As the characters continue on their journey, the story becomes more complicated and dangerous as the cast learns that this phenomenon may not be entirely in the past. 

“[I would describe “Trap” as] Inception with mystery creatures,” CHS senior stage manager Kai Miller said. “It’s very meta. It’s like a play within a play.”

After 18 months of virtual learning, the cast and crew faced more of a challenge for the preparation of this production. The cast rehearsed for eight weeks for three to four days a week and as a whole, had to re-learn how to rehearse in person, project their voices, emote, and share the space with other cast members. 

With one year of virtual learning, the cast is a mix of veterans with younger students who are a bit more inexperienced on the high school stage. However, the crew and cast was intentional with students who knew more about what was expected of them being placed in lead roles to help guide freshmen and sophomores throughout this process. 

“We have a lot of new people this year,” Miller said. “We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen that are acting in the play and usually it would be more junior or senior heavy. It’s really cool to see them grow as actors throughout the course of this production.” 

The production includes trigger warnings for mentions of suicide and flashing lights. For more information, click here.