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Posted: 11/20/13

RHS comedy spoofs
theater production chaos

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer

      Don't let the name fool you, the latest comedy from Romeo students isn't a typical stage production.
       The Romeo Theatre Company will present "Just Another High School Play" at 7 p.m. on Nov. 22-23 and 2 p.m. on Nov. 24 at the David L. Olson Auditorium in Romeo High School.
       Kendra Walls, theater instructor and director, said she planned on performing a drama this fall, but knowing she had a large cast and crew she found the show was perfect. A total of 94 students auditioned for the play, with 55 of them snagging a role.
       "It's really a director's dream because you get to teach comedic timing to these kids, and comedy is harder than drama," she said.
       The show centers around a high school theater company's director heading to Mexico, leaving the ill-prepared actors and crew only 10 minutes to come up with a show before the curtain rises. A box of scripts are found, so the stage manager and assistant director cobble together a show using scenes from classic plays like "Romeo and Juliet" or "A Christmas Carol."
       "It's supposed to be organized chaos," Walls said. "I think this is how most people view high school theater."
       Walls said the production is tricky because the students have to not act like high school students.
       "Every one of them has someone that they're imitating, they don't get to play themselves," she said.
       Senior Avery Beadle plays Carrie, an actor frustrated from being thrust into scenes without warning and must constantly improvise. She said the show differs from most others they've done, but likes the opportunity to create their own characters.
       "There is not a lot of character written in, you have to make your character through your own actions," she said.
       Senior Emma West plays the assistant director that she described as quirky, off-beat and laid-back. She also liked that the show gives the actors some creative freedom.
       "Very little does Walls say you should change," she said.
       The students highlighted some of their favorite scenes, such as those involving a piano or moments with food. Audiences can expect surprises and laughs throughout, whether it's gags, dozens of crazy props or re-writes of famous works, such as replacing the witches in "The Crucible."
       "It's to the point of you're laughing at one moment, and then you're like `how can they top that,' and next scene is even funnier," Walls said.
       Junior Megan Ross plays the stage manager, a sarcastic perfectionist that finds the box of scripts. She said the biggest challenge is bringing out the laughs without depending on established characters.
       "You have to really make the lines come to life with the character you picked," she said.
       Contrary to how catastrophic the show appears, the company is well-prepared, with some of them memorizing the script before auditioning or gathering a wide assortment of props and costumes.
       "It's a play about not being prepared for a play that we prepared for," Beadle said with a chuckle. "It's such a good show."
       The Romeo Theatre Company is taking the show on the road to the State Theater Festival. Walls said the group scheduled to perform had to drop out, so the coordinators asked if her group could perform for a second year in a row.
       "There are 43 schools attending, they could've asked anyone," Walls said.
       Tickets are $7 each for reserved seating and can be purchased at www.showtix4u.com or at the box office. For more information or for tickets, call (586) 281-1154 or e-mail Walls at kendra.walls@romeo.k12.mi.us.


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