De Soto High School actors get winter thaw
Ben Bartlett wants to give his students an extra opportunity to be onstage.
This Thursday and Friday, De Soto High School students will perform their first winter play.
Although the school typically has a fall and spring musical, Bartlett said he decided to add a smaller winter play this year. This year's fall musical was "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat," and the spring musical will be "Little Shop of Horrors."
Although the musical is usually performed three or four nights to accommodate the parents of the performers, the winter play will be limited to a two-day run.
"I hope it will be a good audience for the kids who worked on it," he said.
This weekend's play "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" is actually a two-act comedy by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. A small cast of five students: Lucas Walker, Lindsay Koehler, Ross Stone, Hailey Stueber and Riley Day will perform various characters in several of Shakespeare's famous plays. Bartlett's wife, Emily Bartlett, is directing the play.
"It was written for three male characters, but the script has been adjusted to include five characters," Bartlett said. "The authors encourage you to make changes suitable to the school."
He said it was also a good opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with the works of Shakespeare -- required reading in most English courses.
"It covers several of his works," Bartlett said. "There's the ones that stick out, like the second act is Hamlet, but there's also some of his lesser known plays."
The play also includes juggling, plastic sword fighting, kilts, silly string and lots of surprises. The actors even use football to depict one Shakespearian play.
Gabby Mullins, student stage manager, said the play has several costumes and props.
"I have to throw stuff at people -- it's awkward sometimes when they run backstage and say 'Dress me!'"
Riley Day said when his directors found out he could juggle, they decided to include that in the play as well.
"I've never been in a play before," Day said. "I thought this would be fun."
Students said they were pleased with the progress in the rehearsals.
"It's really funny," said Leslie Hodges, stage hand. "They do lots of crazy stuff, and it's kind of cool that it's our first winter play."
The play will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased at the door.