Alder stages hilarious play within a play
From fall to fall, Jonathan Alder High School play director Shauna Piatt alternates between comedies and dramas. This year, it’s comedy’s turn.
“(The choice) was between ‘Play On’ and ‘The Curious Savage,’ which I love but it has a strong moral,” Piatt said. “With all that goes on in the world, sometimes you just want to sit back and laugh.”
And, so, Jonathan Alder’s theatre students are putting on Rick Abbot’s “Play On,” a play about a play that goes embarrasingly wrong. The inept playwright keeps revising the script to her already poorly written show, “Murder Most Foul.” Rehearsals are chaotic, the dress rehearsal is a near disaster, and the actual performance is a bomb.
Due to the play-within-a-play format, “Play On” requires most cast members to perform as two characters. To meet the challenge, Piatt chose juniors and seniors who have theater experience. She also went with veteran actors for their potential to take an idea and run with it.
“It’s a show without a lot of direction. I chose kids who have the ability to get creative with their characters,” Piatt said.
The cast includes: Brooke Baldwin, McKenna Buhrts, Nicole Haines, Dillon Miller, Madeline Moore, Nesya Schwartz, Jorden Stock, Francesca Thomas, Madison Wells and Ben Yoder.
The behind-the-scenes crew must be on their toes, too, as sound effects are integral to the show’s humor.
“One of the characters in the play is Louise, a stage technician who has all sorts of troubles with the sound. A phone rings at an awkward moment; a gun goes off at the wrong time; a Star Trek song randomly plays in the middle of a scene,” Piatt said.
Making these effects happen, along with general sound and lighting, are students Patrick Carlson, Nathan Cornelius and Hunter Harrison. Serving as stage managers and prop masters are Tyler Guerin and Casey Pollock. Student directors are Jordan Thomas and Adam Wheelbarger. Longtime Jonathan Alder theater supporter Scott Jones headed up set design.
Show times for “Play On” are 8 p.m. Nov. 16-17 and 3 p.m. Nov. 18. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.