Posted October 24, 2016
Plymouth High School will present an original script written by three alumni as its fall play, Nov. 3 to 6.
“Seafaring Shakespeare: But With Slightly Less Shakespeare Because the Boat Sank” has an amusing plot, filled with tons of characters and lots of room for student creativity, including a little "modern-style renaissance dance," said PHS drama teacher and play director Janet DeJean Newton.
The plot centers around a class trip on a Shakespearean-themed cruise, but the ship sinks, and the teacher, Miss Claymore (Elisabeth Balistreri) does her best to keep the kids under control AND alive. Her brilliant student, Sarah, (Tehya Wachuta) helps her keep the kids organized with assigned survival tasks, even constructing a "coconut radio" at one point.
Graham (Justin Schmidt) narrates much of the activity, as he is engrossed in journaling about the class's experiences. Many delightful characters appear, including Maximus (Quinn Zwick), the Shakespearean Cruise director who is enamored with Miss Claymore; Charisma (Destiny Henschel), who cannot get a grasp on reality, including how fish can manage to get caught in a net filled with holes; Pete (Paul Hammes), who is sure "THE government" has something to do with the deserted island where the class is marooned, and, not surprising, a "wild man in a loincloth" (Nic Pohl) appears.
The playwrights created a variety of adventures for the students and audience to experience, and audiences will certainly be delighted with the choreography by Destiny Henschel, assisted by Lizzie Riley, Mrs. Newton said. Live "jungle" music will be played by Justin Schmidtz, Brylan Weisensel, Megan Carbaugh and Quinn Zwick. Thematic and transitional music has once again been composed by Canadian composer, Tom Graczkowski.
The script came about after Kate Harms, who graduated in June, asked Mrs. Newton if she had “something for her to do" during the summer. “Knowing Kate's skill as a writer, I challenged her to write this fall's play,” Mrs. Newton said. “She wholeheartedly took on the challenge, and she spent all summer writing, with co-writers Julia Krueger and Mary Riley, also Class of 2016 alumni.”
Kate and Mary were key playwrights of the original script the drama class produced in 2015 – “Just Your Average Joes – and Julia has done a lot of writing. All three were members of the PHS Poets & Writers Club.
“This is my baby, but I had some (a lot) of help,” Kate wrote in the Author’s Note that accompanies the script. “My lovely co-authors say they didn’t do much, but what they did for the play were things I simply could not do. Mary did a lot of writing for the character of Maximus, who goes almost the entire play talking in Shakespearean. Julia wrote most of the dialogue for Charisma, and all of her lines made us laugh out loud.”
The script was created as a Google doc, so all three could work on it whenever they could. “We occasionally got together to write,” Kate wrote. “Really, most of this was written in my bedroom while I panicked and typed simultaneously.”
Mrs. Newton said her criteria when selecting a fall play are lots of parts for lots of actors, large group scenes – which hopefully include some movement options – and sometimes the integration of literature.
Kate said the idea for the play came from a “Lord of the Flies” assignment during her sophomore year, in which students had to write a journal about their class being stranded on a deserted island. “It was already pretty whacky, but we’ve made it wackier and added lots more characters,” she said.
Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3; Friday, Nov. 4; and Saturday, Nov. 5; with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, in the school auditorium, 125 Highland Ave. General admission tickets are $5 and will be available in the PHS office and at the door.
The playwrights plan to attend the Saturday performance – the first time they will see the show performed! – and will stay afterward for a “talkback” with those interested.
Student Production Staff
Choreographer: Destiny Henschel
Assistant Choreographer: Lizzie Riley
Costumes: Delaney Scudella
Student Theatre Manager: Alan Schaefer
Lights and Sound: Alan Schaefer and Jordan Hefter
Poster and t-shirt artwork: Jordan Lomibao
Music Direction and Transposition: Justin Schmitz
PHS Production Staff
Director: Janet DeJean Newton
Assistant Directors: Amy Larson and Bob Briggs
District Theatre Manager: Gary Kaiser
Sound Design: Tom Graczkowski