The Chronicle Entertainment Actors quiz spectators in this year’s spring musical Putting the Audience to the Test By Jack Tessier Entertainment Editor Can you spell “whimsical”? These musical students certainly can! The theatre department is putting the finishing touches on the spring musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” This musical follows one event that brings together six awkward tweens as they vie for the spelling bee championship. Each character brings his or her own hilarious quirks, unique spelling strategies, and even some touching stories. Theatre teacher and musical director Jessica Dotson believes the message of this show is important for everybody to understand. “The show is about the struggles of trying to be a kid and everything that is involved with that; from home life, to bullying, to trying to connect with each other,” Dotson said. “I hope the audience, not only has a lot of fun watching this show, but also sees that at all ages the pressure we put on ourselves to be the best.” Since auditions in December, the actors have spent lots of time developing their zany characters. “I relate to my character a lot,” junior Jackson Rolando, who plays Chip Tolentino, said. “It was an interesting exercise mean.” practicing being Sophomore Kara Blakely, who plays Olive Ovstrovsky, also relates to her character. “I’ve liked playing Olive because over the course of the show, she breaks out of her photo by Jack Tessier Playing the part of Logainne, junior Ronnie Pitts struggles to spell a word in the musical as her fellow performers sit on the risers behind her. shell,” Blakley said. “I relate to that.” While many performers try to make the audience members feel like they’re part of the show, rarely do they get brought up on stage; but that’s what makes Spelling Bee unique. Before the show starts, the cast will invite members of the audience to come onto the auditorium stage to compete in the bee while the performers sing a variety of hilarious songs and “torment” the poor nonactors until they spell a word wrong and are booted off the stage to the tune of the “Goodbye Song.” While actors believe it will be lots of fun to see audience members brought on stage, they know this element will also present some challenges. “You don’t know how they’re (the audience) is going to react,” junior Pete Nosal, who plays Leaf Coneybear, said. “It will be fun, though, to interact with them and play off of them, using improv.” Freshman Leann Embrey, who plays Marcie Park, thinks bringing willing, yet oblivious, participants onstage will be fun. “It will be funny because the audience members won’t have a clue what’s going on,” Embrey said. While much of the performance is improvised, a lot of rehearsing is required - three months in fact. But it’s all worth it when they get on that stage opening night and hear the audience laugh and cheer for the first time. “I can’t wait to hear all the audience reactions, especially the ones who come up to spell,” Nosal said. “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” will be performed in the auditorium May 2-4. All shows start at 7 p.m. There is a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. which will feature all the understudy actors. Tickets are sold at the door and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House Foundation. After Hours performed at county art festival Jack Tessier Makes Directing Debut By Mahala Goodwin Staff Reporter Mannequins and theatre were brought to life at the Fauquier County Arts Festival. Senior Jack Tessier made his directing debut with the one act, “After Hours.” The sole performance took place on Saturday, March 30 in the Commons. “After Hours” is the story of three mannequins who spring to life and stop a burglary. The cast and crew, which included teachers Mark Frazier and Joseph Golimowski, rehearsed for nearly two months. “This script is so much fun,” Tessier said. “It’s a fairly simple premise with a lot of funny lines and builtin physical comedy that I, as the director, can take and run with.” Tessier became interested in directing after years of mitments, but Jack has done such a great job of staying patient and working around everyone’s schedule.” “The biggest challenge of this play is not laughing and breaking character,” senior Noah Feno said. “It’s a very funny play.” Tessier said directing was photo by Elizabeth Cannizzo Getting in character, senior Noah Feno makes his acting debut in “After Hours.” performing as an actor. “I’ve really enjoyed working with other actors on character development,” Tessier said. “Recently, I’ve grown interested in directing my own vision to fruition.” Frazier enjoyed being involved and is glad that the theatre department is opening up to teachers. “It’s really cool to see the actors do their thing and to see Jack to his thing as director,” Frazier said. “Honestly, it’s flattering to be asked to do it,” Frazier said. “I’ve always wanted to do something like this.” Like many play productions, this one came with its own challenges for the cast and crew. “The biggest challenge of this production was the schedule,” Frazier said. “We all have so many comharder than he anticipated. “The biggest challenge was handling various jobs at once,” Tessier said. “I had to send out emails, create scenic and set designs, build a box, create a program, and various other jobs just to get this show ready. But I feel that I have the skill set for this and a lot of supportive people behind me, including Ms. Dotson and the actors, so I’m not worried.” Feno loved his first acting “Acting gig. like someone else is something I don’t do in my normal life; I just do it on the stage and it’s fun.” Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton Cliff Hubbard is a huge loser. Literally. His nickname at Happy Valley High School is Neanderthal because he’s so enormous - 6’6” and 250 pounds to be exact. He has nobody at school, and life in his trailer-park home has gone from bad to worse ever since his older brother’s suicide. There’s no one Cliff hates more than the nauseatingly cool quarterback Aaron Zimmerman. Then Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience with a bizarre claim: while he was unconscious he saw God, who gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High suck less. And God said there’s only one person who can help: Neanderthal. Entertainment 13 April 2019 Reader’s Choice By Grace Morrow Staff Reporter Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate Based on one of America’s most notorious Memphis-based adoption organization, real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never where we belong. forgets of a

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