Fall’s plays focus on drama

Senior McKenzie Sesterhenn gives senior Amanda Harwood ice after hitting her in the head with a door in Almost, Maine.

As students take the stage for the fall play this November, a new talented group of actors are about to make their debut, and some familiar faces return. There are two productions showing this fall titled The Long View by Alan Haehnel and Almost, Maine. The performances will be on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

Seniors Jordan Lang and Ryan Ehrhardt fight in The Long View.

The Long View focuses on a fight that takes place in school and tracks the students as they move through their lives to the point of their deaths. Director Michelle Rathe is very proud of the actors she has been working with. “I have a great group of talented new actors who have really worked hard. I am really impressed with how much they have developed their characters and ensemble work,” Rathe said.

Almost, Maine deals with a group of people who live in a small town. There are a series of life experiences included in this plot. “From first love, meeting up unexpectedly with an ex, bemoaning the ups and downs of bad dates scenes or discovering the possibilities that often lurk right in front of them, the characters experience the ups and downs of love,” Rathe said. The piece will give the actors the opportunity to make the audience move from laughter to feeling sorrow.

As with the production of any show, there were some challenges Rathe and the actors faced. “Having lost so many seniors over the last two years, I just wasn’t sure who I would have come out for auditions, but I was very lucky; I got a better group of actors than I ever thought possible,” Rathe said.

The types of believable characters the actors had to portray was also a challenge. “It was more difficult for students to transition to a type of show that demands more believable characters and actions. Most of them haven’t had an experience quite like this before,” Rathe said.

Senior Shelby Miller recalls the death of her husband.

Seniors Marlaine McKean and Zach Souhrada-Rogers' relationship falls apart.

These plays will definitely be different from years past. The experience Rathe has had with these actors has been quite special. “I have worked more individually with all the actors than I have ever been able to in the past. Part of this is because of the shows, but the other part is because of the effort that the actors have put into this show. Good or bad, everyone of those kids has gotten more individual time and direction from me than in past years,” Rathe said.

The two plays this year will showcase some very real characters, which is another difference from past productions. “These pieces require a different reality than in the past, so having to move from farce or goof ball comedies to something that demands more believability from the actors has created a very different dynamic,” Rathe said.

Now that showtime is drawing closer, Rathe and the actors are getting more and more excited to show all the hard work they have put in. “I am excited about the energy of the students. They really seem to be excited about the shows, and that pride comes across in what they portray on the stage,” Rathe said.

Rathe noted the talent this year is incredible, giving each actor a chance in the spotlight. “I think people will be surprised about all of the levels of this show as well as the wide diversity of talent. I am also pleased that both of these shows offer a large number of students to shine. There are no ‘trees’ in this production; these are truly ensemble pieces,” Rathe said.

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