Group photo of cast

Members of the PHS Drama II/III Advanced Acting class, also known as the Amph-Rats.

PHS students to present original play

Posted April 30, 2018

Plymouth High School students will present the original play “The Toilet Seat Manifesto" on May 11 and 12.

Each semester, the Drama II/III Advanced Acting class, also known as the Amph-Rats Acting Company, performs a previously published play and an original work. The class presented Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor” in April.

Senior Justin Schmitz's natural and sarcastic humor spills out of his original play, “The Toilet Seat Manifesto," which features Karl Marx as the owner of Sitz Toilet Seats. Founded in the USSR during the 1980s, Sitz was the dominant player in the toilet seat market for years, later transferring to San Francisco after Karl, despite his utter hatred of capitalism, saw the money to be made in the States. Sitz Toilet Seats struck it big, reaching a maximum valuation on the stock market of $500 million; they had so effectively captivated the bathrooms of American consumers that their success was truly a Marxian Marvel.

Things changed, however, with the advent of trade. Rather than just competing with “American swine of competition,” as Karl so delicately puts it, the battle grew to include Chinese, Mongolian and Bangladeshian companies. Sitz found its profits falling, stock dropping, and interest fading. How could the company stop itself from getting flushed down the toilet, and instead regain its seat on the (porcelain) throne? Adam, the CEO, has his idea, and Steven, the CFO, has another – but which way is best? Karl will have to decide.

 “I am absolutely delighted to have had the privilege of working with Justin Schmitz for four years as a member of the PHS comedy team and three years with the annual fall play and in the drama classes,” said PHS drama teacher Janet DeJean Newton. "Justin is a rare talent. He can act, sing, dance, play multiple instruments, and maintain a very high GPA. His fellow 'Amph-Rats' are very excited about performing his brand new play."

Justin said he was inspired to write the play while sitting in an overpriced coffee shop in O'Hare International Airport, “enjoying a fine glass of complimentary water,” when he started thinking about company acquisitions and what the internal dynamics must be like when there's no agreement as far as how to proceed.

“This story, contrived as it may be, has roots in reality,” he said. “Then, Karl Marx got involved. How? To be honest, I'm not sure. My best guess is that I had the idea, and thought ‘That could be funny,’ then wrote the entire show.”
The 2018 spring semester Amph-Rats are  Mitch Arnold, Adam Carbaugh, Matthew Klemm, Michael Krusiec, Dillon Nemitz, Lizzie Riley, Justin Schmitz, Deklan Solonika, Sydney Tackes, and Quinn Zwick (who plays Karl Marx).

Theatre Design and Technology class students have put together the lighting, sets, props, and costumes for this production. The stage crew includes Isabell Gangano, Matthew Klemm, Mikalea Pingel, Jenna Myers, Dillon Nemitz, Lizzie Riley, Jaxsen Schermacher, Anne Sedlacek, George Sember, and Deklan Solonika.

Performances will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 in the amphitheater at the school, 125 Highland Ave. Admission is free.

Learn more:
• For more information, contact PHS English and drama teacher Janet DeJean Newton at (920) 893-6911.