Participants in the New London Performing Arts program have been working hard since early October to prepare for this weekend’s performances. (Photo submitted)
Seniors Molly Klinzman and Bailey Rees show a wide range of emotions in Washington High School’s performance of Radium Girls. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)
The evolution of radium understanding is easy to see as the Radium Girl character portrayed by Bailey Rees (left) and Abby Kleese paint each other with radium laced paint. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)
Keegan Colby (left) portrays the complicated character of Arthur Roeder alongside Kyann Miller as CB Lee (middle) and Trevin Sultentich as Dr. Cecil Drinker. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)
The dollhouse, set in the 1800s around Christmas Day, shows complex relationships such as the husband and wife dynamic between Robbie Heaton (left) and Natalie McCormick (right). (Photo submitted)
Heaton and McCormick convey heavy themes like Nora and Torvald Helmer. (Photo submitted)
MT. ENJOYABLE – Starting tonight, Friday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, the Southeast Iowa area has ample opportunity to catch a variety of theatrical performances from area high schools.
Washington, Mt. Pleasant and New London High Schools will each offer three hours of performance for their fall plays.
Washington High School Performs DW Gregory’s Drama Radium Girls
Radium Girls is based on a true story of working women in the 1920s who suffered from radium poisoning due to practices encouraged by their workplace, US Radium Plant, and incorrect science presented by Madame Marie Curie.
While the show requires minimal decor, the special effects and large cast make the production a big undertaking for the high school.
“The show calls for 32 and we have 19 in our cast,” director Brett Pierson said.
In order to fill in all the characters, most actors play multiple characters except for the lead roles played by seniors Keegan Colby and Molly Klinzman.
Kolby plays the complex president of US Radium and Klinzman portrays the equally complex dial painter Grace Fryer.
In fact, Senior Kevin Flannery plays three characters: Grace’s love interest Tom Kreider, dentist Joseph Knef, and dial-painter lawyer Raymond Berry.
Costume designer Lisa Hughes and student costume team Megan Kitche, Makynna Morgan and Mikaila Mathesor had their work cut out for them with such a large crew and an even bigger cast.
“I usually like to show the progression of time,” said costume designer Lisa Hughes. “With such a cast, however, and so many multiple roles, most actors have a costume for each character throughout the play.”
One costume per character is used to help the audience keep an eye on the characters.
The actors do a wonderful job of changing cadence, speed, tone, and accents to set the characters apart.
Washington High School actors portray deeply complex characters across a wide range of emotions.
“It’s a very real game with very real people,” Klinzman said. “The stories of these girls led to much of the worker rights and safety we have today.”
“It’s still very much related to the issues of workers today,” she said.
“It will make you feel something, and that’s important,” Colby said.
Watch a Washington High School performance Radium Girls today and tomorrow at 7 p.m., and again on Sunday November 13 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students at the Washington Area Performing Arts and Events Center.
Mt. Pleasant High School performs A doll’s house by Henrik Ibsen this weekend
A doll’s house is a comprehensive play set in the late 1800s about a housewife who is fed up with her condescending husband.
The students of Mt. Pleasant High School carry an emotionally heavy story through their character portrayals.
Senior Male Lead Robbie Heaton says, “It has a strong message about feminism and is just a journey of self-discovery by Nora.”
Madeleine Smith, who plays Emmy Helmer, finds additional themes.
“It’s about the influence of your parents on your spouse and on your children,” she said.
Because the play deals heavily with trauma and abuse, the high school actors must have felt uncomfortable.
“I have to throw all my morals out the window to play Nora’s husband,” Heaton said. “Every line I say makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable.”
Female lead, Natalie McCormick plays housewife Nora Helmer.
“I’m really angry,” she said of the way her character is being treated.
Senior Isaac Jerrel takes on his first major role in a play as Nils Krogstad, and says his character adds to the discomfort felt by the entire cast and the belittlement of Nora.
“It makes me uncomfortable when I have to call Nora a ‘pampered, pampered creature,'” he said.
With such heavy themes and cruel acting, director Marlene DePriest says she’s “tremendously proud of how they’ve grown and become their characters.”
“Every time someone is on stage, something new happens,” said Jordan Crooks, who plays Anna.
Much of the cast attests that the play has many layers to understand and is worth seeing more than once.
“You’re going to see something new every time,” said Summer Schroeder, who plays Christina Linden.
“If you come for the comedy, you won’t find it here,” McCormick said. “It’s really heavy.”
The Mt. Pleasant High School production of A doll‘s house opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. with performances again on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $5 at the door of the Heatilator Performing Arts Center on East Monroe Street.
The New London Performing Arts brighten up a dramatic weekend with their performance of A family reunion to die for by Matt and Mike Steele
A family reunion to die for is a comedic murder mystery that will keep audiences hooked throughout the performances.
The play consists of characters like a mall security guard turned detective, hillbilly sisters chasing squirrels, a former Vegas showgirl with a knack for knitting, a not very smart maid, a grumpy cook, a journalist bitter and mimes.
The cast of 19 students is excited to perform for the community.
Show timetables for A family reunion to die for are Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Saturday’s show at 7 p.m. will also be a senior night for high achievers.
New London Performing Arts offers several ticket options.
VIP PACKAGE: For $20, VIP ticket holders get early entry 45 minutes before showtime, reserved seating in the first five rows of the auditorium, a drink and popcorn, and pre-show photos on stage with the cast and crew. These tickets are limited.
EARLY ACCESS PASS: This ticket allows attendees to admit guests 30 minutes before the curtain for only $10. These tickets are limited.
GENERAL ADMISSION TICKET: General Admission tickets are available at the door for $5 and guests will begin entering the house 15 minutes prior to the start of the show.
Tickets are available at the door and online at www.schoolpay.com/link/afamilyreuniontodiefor
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