Play On! ready for its opening night

Emily Humble, Staff Reporter

In the theater, the sound of drills and saws echo out of the paint-spattered shop. Velvet curtains slide on and off stage, lines of tape labeled “LIQUOR CABINET” and “FRENCH DOOR” and “WALL SAFE” appear on the floor, and the sharp sounds of enunciation exercises have begun to drift out into the hall. All of this means one thing – a new show is in production.

The first theater production of the school year has been announced as “Play On!” – a three-act comedy about a theater troupe attempting to put on a production, despite nearly everything that could go wrong doing so. This play-within-a-play will be the first show directed at KPARK by new theater teacher Abbey Fera, who previously taught at Kingwood Middle School. Ten students were chosen to fill the cast and seven more to operate behind the scenes on crew.

“It’s lots of fun, total comedy, nothing is serious,” said Fera, describing the show. “I like to do both drama and comedy but I think this school needs a really good, funny show; and I think this will allow us to open with a bang.”

The jokes range from puns to slapstick, some including PG-13 connotations.

“I don’t want to say it pushes the envelope, but it, you know, gets you right to that edge,” Fera said.

Sophomore Jenna Alley who plays the part of the indecisive and carefree playwright Phyllis, said that the show’s portrayal of the behind-the-scenes of a production is “very accurate.”

“Goofing up in the rehearsals and people saying they don’t know their lines,” is all a part of the process according to Alley. Those sorts of slip-ups are written into the actual script as well, which can be confusing during rehearsals where both scripted and unscripted mistakes are happening at the same time. Alley’s character adds to the comedy and dysfunction by insisting on changing integral parts of the plot only days before scheduled performances.

Rehearsals for “Play On!” occur after school every school day for two hours, and weekend rehearsals range from four to 12 hours. In this early stage, the cast has been mainly working on blocking – the term used to describe the preplanned movements on the stage.

In contrast to former theater teacher Diane Kaste, “Mrs. Fera is a little more detail oriented in the way she blocks,” Toby Carter said.

As head of lights, he operates the light board at the back of the theater, where he can observe everything that goes on during rehearsals and performances. The crew of Play On! has been working as hard as the actors, already beginning to adjust lights and gather props for the performance.

Something that has already been a struggle for Fera as a director at KPARK was auditions. She made it clear to auditionees that she was struggling with choosing who she would have to cut from the production. It’s “the worst job ever in the history of ever,” she said.

“It’s not just necessarily about talent… especially with this being my first show here,” Fera said. “I don’t know much about the kids, and even the kids I have had in the past, it’s been so long… It’s a huge challenge.”

However, she is confident in the students she has chosen.

“They work hard, play hard, that’s how it is,” she said.

The shows for Play On! will be November 5, 6, 7 and 9 at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets will sell for $10 each.

“I want people to come and enjoy it, because it’s fun,” Alley said. “We’re fun. We’re a fun group of people.”