Whitehall thespians impart life lessons learned as tots


 Messenger photos by Dianne Garrett

Deja Franklin, center, becomes a barfing bride instead of a blushing bride as she approaches her unsuspecting, proud mother, as she walks down the aisle a bundle of nerves  The cast members of the Whitehall-Yearling High School production of "All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten," from left, are Amanda Heintzelman (mother of the bride), Carey Adkins, Amy Nash, Franklin, Amber Eck, David Coy, William Erby and Mitchell Harper.

 Dan Nash reunites with former teacher and mentor, Janice Plank, on the stage of Whitehall Yearling High School theatre.  The 2002 graduate has been hired part-time to co-direct the school’s fall plays and spring musicals.  Plank now lives in Los Angeles, and recently came home to visit Nash and meet with the theater students and staff, offering some guidance and insight.

Have you ever thought about how the basic, common sense knowledge we possess as adults actually roots us back to time spent in kindergarten?  

Whitehall Yearling High School’s theatre department will be presenting these words of wisdom with "All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten," November 9-11.  

The play is based on Robert Fulghum’s best-selling books, and takes a funny, insightful and heartwarming look at what is profound in everyday life.  It has earned standing ovations from Singapore to Prague, as well as Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.  

The audience will be assured of an evening of theatrical storytelling in revue format, with monologues, dialogues and multiple voice narration, enhanced through the use of piano underscoring.  

The stories feature colorful characters such as a shy little boy who insists on playing the "pig" in his class production of Cinderella, and ends up stealing the show.  

And there’s a man whose dream of flying carries him high over L.A. in a lawn chair buoyed by surplus weather balloons, as well as a "mother of the bride" who has staged a perfect wedding, until the bowling ball of fate rolls down the aisle.  

These stories celebrate our very existence, from the whimsy of childhood to the wisdom of old age.

Dan Nash, a 2002 WYHS grad, is making his debut as the theatre’s director this year.  

His mentor, retired theatre and art teacher, Jan Plank, visited earlier this year from Los Angeles. to give some pointers to her former student.    

Nash said that he knows he has big shoes to fill, but she taught him well, and he is excited to be back at his alma mater as the part-time director.  

"I had about 50 kids come to tryouts," said Nash.  "When parents read in the paper that I had been hired, they encouraged their kids to try out.  It is quite encouraging to me to have that kind of support."  

Even though there is only an eight- member cast, other students are working diligently behind the scenes to make the show a success.

The production will be held at the school’s theatre on Nov. 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.  Admission is $5 for adults, and $4 for children and students.  Pre-sale tickets may be purchased for the show at the door 45 minutes prior to each performance.  

A portion of the proceeds from the Friday performance will help finance the WYHS Department of Theatre James "Herk" Soteriades Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a graduating senior who has chosen to pursue theatre at an accredited university.

There will be a special performance for senior citizens on Nov. 7 at 8:15 a.m.  

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the theatre department, may send a check to:  WYHS Theatre, 675 S. Yearling Road, Whitehall, 43213.  

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