By Rick Palsgrove
The members of Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company are not afraid to tackle serious subject matter and this year’s fall play enables them to showcase their dramatic skills.
The Cruiser Theatre Company will present the drama, “A Voice in the Dark – A Salem Story,” at Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road, on Nov. 8, 9, 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $7 general admission.
Cruiser Theatre Company Director Erin Graffis said the play, set during the era of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, will challenge the student actors.
“We’re excited to present this production,” said Graffis. “Though it is set in 1692, it’s a story that is relevant now.”
Graffis said the story is told from the perspective of a teenage girl, “Abigail Hobbs,” who will be played by senior Kayla Parker. As accusations mount that women in the community are practicing witchcraft, Abigail Hobbs is faced with decisions when one of her friends is accused. She finds information that will save her friend, but must decide if she will stay silent and let the witch hunt continue or risk her own safety and speak out for what is right.
“It’s a tough dilemma for the character and a challenge for the actor to perform,” said Graffis, who added that dramas in general are more challenging for actors than comedies.
“In a comedy, if you make a mistake, it can be played off for laughs,” said Graffis. “But that cannot be done in a drama.”
Parker said she has never played a character like Abigail Hobbs before.
“She’s not a caricature,” said Parker. “There’s depth there.”
Parker said it’s difficult to portray someone who is one’s own age, but who lived in another era.
“She may have different ideals and she’s very innocent,” said Parker.
Parker added the play is not like anything the Cruiser Theatre Company has done before.
“It has a spooky feel and there is some sadness,” said Parker. “The audience will go on a journey with my character and experience her dilemma. At the end of the performance, the audience will decide for themselves if they agree or disagree with Abigail’s decision or maybe not know what they would have done.”
Other lead roles in the production include Fiona Finneran as Abigail’s friend, “Rebecca Nurse,” and Derek Smith as “Thomas Putnam,” whose family is a driving force behind the accusations of witchcraft.
Graffis said the auditorium in the new high school will also enhance the production values of the performance.
“We now have LED lighting where we can integrate a fair amount of color in our lighting,” said Graffis. “For instance, in a nighttime forest scene we can use dark blue lighting or we can use shades of red in other scenes to signify danger or death.”
Graffis said other new stage technology will enable things to enter a scene from above.
“We’re also experimenting with ‘Surround Sound,’ which will help make the audience feel more connected to the show,” said Graffis.
Other upcoming performances
The remainder of Groveport Madison High School Cruiser Theatre Company’s 2018-19 performance schedule is as follows:
• “Almost Maine,” Jan. 11 & 12 at 7 p.m.
• Play-in-a-day: “The Nine Worst Break-ups of All Time,” Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
• “Shrek: The Musical,” April 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m. and April 14 at 2 p.m.
All performances at Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road, Groveport. Tickets: $5 for students and senior citizens and $7 general admission except for “Shrek: The Musical,” which are $7 for students and senior citizens and $10 general admission.
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