Banua is, without a doubt, the most recognizable of the BFG productions every year. It returns, year after year, with the same general format. Chances are, if you’re a Fenwick student, you’ve been to at least one Banua. But what exactly is Banua? And how much work goes into it? According to the performers, crew, and writers, quite a bit. For the cast, everything kicks off with auditions. According to Rowan Auriemma, a junior who is in multiple acts, students looking to be in the show can either submit a video or audition live after school- either way, they’ll perform about a minute of their act. A few weeks later, they’ll get an email stating that they made it in. The good news for nervous first time performers is that Banua is a show for everyone. This means that your act doesn’t have to be very tight during the audition- Mr. Faille, the director, is simply looking for dedication and talent.

For stage crew, the process starts even earlier. The theme of Banua 2023, Kaleidoscope, was announced early this year at BFG’s kickoff meeting. Carly Sampson, a senior and one of the paint managers, was working with her fellow manager to come up with a cohesive set even before auditions. “After the physical ideas are down,” she says, “we decide on a color palette and a style of lettering we like and that fits the theme- for kaleidoscope we went with a lot of triangles of course.” Due to a shortage of time, the two came up with a paint-by-number system to get the set done in time. The rest of the crew was hard at work as well- from construction spending quality time with power tools to lights and sound pouring time into making sure everything would run as smoothly as possible.

The distinguishing part of Banua is, of course, the skits. This year, the skit writers were led by Ms. Doctor, and over the course of a few weeks, the writers developed the skits performed on stage. A look at the scripts reveals their rough process. They start with a general brainstorm, before eventually moving on to writing out potential jokes and characters. Once the jokes are written and characters chosen, the script is written out. From there, they send the lighting and sound cues necessary for each skit to the respective crews, before turning to casting.

Tech week is the only time that the show is fully run. The order is finalized a few days beforehand, meaning that all the performers have to do is show up and rehearse on stage- which for some is easier said than done. Rowan Auriemma, ‘24, says that “…it can be nerve-wracking, because, well, those are your classmates, but overall performing is something that brings me so much joy that it’s not too hard to get over the fright.” It’s not uncommon to find a group of people quietly hyping up someone who’s about to go onstage. Compared to other BFG productions, the show is only run once, with the two separate performances being run on different days. This can be a mixed bag- while it’s much less of a time commitment, there’s also less time to fix things.

Overall, Banua is an incredible show that requires a lot of effort from everyone involved. Often stated in theater circles is the phrase, “there are no small parts”. This is especially true for this show, where every single person- from someone manning a spotlight to someone in 20 acts-is necessary for the show to function. During Banua’s two night run, the sense of community that permeates Fenwick seems to condense itself enough to fit into the wings of Fenwick’s auditorium, among the cast and crew of this amazing show.