WHS Drama Club Continues to Attract an Audience with Successful Fall Production


Laura Drinan

“Okay, kids, this is it. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Get out there and break a leg! Hit the music! Lights!” says the ‘director’ (sophomore Sarah Wylie), as inane music rises and the scene is set behind closed curtains. The stage is illuminated as a chanting Friar Rico (junior Evan Parsons) walks harmoniously to the stage to meet the young, innocent Belinda (senior Erin Strickland) and tell the story of Ivanha, a boy abandoned in the forest, where he was taken in and raised by squirrels. Throughout an asinine plot and blatantly unsophisticated humor, “The Worst High School Play In the World” filled the auditorium with whimsical wisecracks and absurdity on December 2 and December 3 of the 2011-2012 school year.
Director, James D’Attilio, chose a play to include every one of the Drama Club’s wide-ranging members. This play featured many characters, including an abundant amount of extras. This year’s veteran drama club members stepped up to take the stage as leads, and welcomed the newcomers into their family. Mr. D’Attilio also chose a play that, similarly to the guest appearances in “The Wiz,” could feature the high school’s staff. In “The Worst High School Play In the World”, Stephen Imbusch and Michael Falker display their acting skills as they chase the court jester, Shecky (senior John Griffin), off the stage. In the show’s entirety, its insanity keeps the audience alive and amused.
Senior Luke Witherell played Prince Ivanha, the heir to the throne of Saxonia. His mother Nina and sister Corsicana, played by senior Emma Batting and junior Jess McNamara, hide him from the darkly-evil Prince Viscera (junior Jack Gately), who attempts to steal the throne for his own malicious wrongdoings. Emma and Jess are well-compatible onstage as they perform their parts without flaw, and exaggerate the humor for plenty of amusement in the crowd. Meanwhile, Jack seems to thoroughly enjoy acting out the loathsome antagonist and embraces playful banter with his fellow cast members, over magic potions, despicable babies, and jousting matches.
The plot continues as Ivanha is left in the Deep Dark Forest to avoid Viscera’s evil clutches, and is raised by a family of squirrels. Some years later, when Ivanha became a young teenager, he realizes he is really a human and is told the truth by Mama and Pop squirrel, played by sock-puppets operated by freshman Ariana Chariton and junior Nick Leppo. Ivanha is grief-stricken due to him not being able to go steady with Trudy (played by freshman Kia Kaizer), whom he professes his squirrely feelings for. Coincidentally, when Ivanha goes off on his own, he meets Friar Fred (sophomore Mike McKeon) and soon encounters the first woman he’s ever seen, Lady Lenore (senior Lorna D’sa), with whom he instantly falls in love with. Ivanha must duel in a joust versus Viscera to take Lady Lenore as the victor’s bride. With the help of Nina and Corsicana, who had recently been reunited with Ivanha, Mama and Chester, and the townspeople, Ivanha wins the duel, and takes the throne once and for all. Proclaiming peace, love, and a banning of squirrel hunting. Cue church bells as the cast walks off happily ever after.
The tech crew, a somewhat overlooked part of Drama Club, did a lot to prepare for the show and to make it successful. Senior co-head tech and stage manager, Megan Keough, worked all season to assist with line readings, blocking, setting the stage, and to take on the challenges of backstage. Props master, senior Alex Wong, planned alongside cast and crew to gather props for the show and organize costumes. Alex also took charge of the art crew with juniors Christa Pellowe and Emily Gillon to create a lightning bolt, a “dipping sun”, a blimp, and several signs for the sets. Other backstage tech included Peter Ellis, who specialized in sound and rigging, James Harukewicz, Katie Clare, Jess Owens, Jack Ronan, and mic specialist Montana Gulbrand. Co-head teach, Kristen Johnson (senior), created all of the light cues and trained sophomore Hannah Mullen how to operate and work with the technology in the control room. Junior Laura Drinan on sound, and Kristen meticulously coordinated their cues to make the special effects of the show come to life. The tech crew was extremely satisfied with the show, as it had been their first major performance without the aid and supervision of last year’s head tech, Matt Mullen and Andy Ellis. “It’s like our security blanket is gone; if we make a mistake, we don’t have anyone to fall back on,” said Kristen Johnson. “Luckily, Andy and Matt taught us well and they passed down their responsibilities to us without a problem.”
After the departure of last year’s veteran actors and actresses, it seemed like the Drama Club would be in shambles, but this year’s fall production proved all the rumors wrong with a successful show. The Drama Club predicts that this year’s shows will only improve in all aspects, despite the extraordinary performances in the Fall show. Senior Emma Batting says, “We’ve had our rough patches, but in the end, we all pulled together to put on a great show. We’re a family.”