Monday, January 25, 2010

Photos from Prarieview School, in Waukee, IA

I'm sounding like a broken record here, but I had great fun getting to know the cast and crew of the Prarieview production. Theirs was in December, and they paired it with a one-act curtain raiser play with a Christmas theme. There was a very nice article about the shows in the Des Moines Register. I've pasted the text of that below the photos. More photos here.

Prairieview drama students create magic


Audience can sit for a spell and enjoy a parody of Harry Potter
by by jennifer ripslinger

Heard in the Prairieview School commons: Kids today don't connect with old things, including books and bands from the '90s.

So the drama department is taking a new twist on Harry Potter and will present "Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone" at 7 p.m. today and Saturday at the school.

Cost is $5 and also includes the short play "The Bestest Christmas Ever in Texas."

"Sally Cotter" is a "loving parody to the tone of Mad magazine or Mel Brooks," writes playwright Dean O'Carroll in the script.

In addition to the familiar characters, Sally, Headmaster Albatross Underdrawers and Lord Murderdeath, the play also features a censor.

Played by Paige Amdahl, 14, of Waukee, the Censor pops in the play occasionally to keep the cast in line.

"I make sure things are in order, and I correct what they say," Amdahl said.

A potential mention of Hogwarts?

Not under the Censor's watch. It's Frogbill Academy of Sorcery.

Despite what the Censor says, Alyssa Cokinis, who plays Cotter, said this play is for all Harry Potter fans.

"I am obsessed with Harry Potter, so I love this play," she said.

She said the audience will instantly recognize the connection to the book series, but this version features more humor.

Sally is flanked by best friends Dave and Harmonica, who are played by Jonathan Buehrer, 14, of West Des Moines and Maggie Dressel, 15, of Waukee.

Buehrer said his character talks big but will eventually hide behind Sally or Harmonica.

"He's kind of stupid," Buehrer said. "But it's fun to act goofy, and it'll be fun to act goofy in front of an audience."

The school, which lacks an auditorium, uses the commons or cafeteria area for its plays. In order to illuminate the productions, the drama department rented lights.
But thanks to a $7,200 fundraising campaign, the school has its own now, said Lynnae Lathrop, drama teacher.
And because the lighting system is portable, it can be used in Prairieview’s future auditorium or at other venues, such as Waukee Middle School.
“We’re training a couple kids to use them right now,” Lathrop said.
For Dressel, her role meant she had to learn large paragraphs of lines.

"She's the brainiac who studies all the time," Dressel said.

Harmonica also never misses an opportunity to show off how much she reads.

Dressel also said that reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" won't give away the ending.

"It's a neat end and it isn't expected," she said. "It's not like the movie or the book."

Added Amdahl: "At the end, it's pretty shocking what I do."

"The Bestest Christmas Ever in Texas"

Before the wizards take the stage, two wishful thinkers will dream of a white Christmas.

According to their matter-of-fact mother, played by Rachel Henderson, the girls will never see snow in December because, well, global warming is going to kill us all.

Not to mention, they live in Texas.

But the daughters, played by Mariah Myers and Kinzie Fagerstrom, come up with a plan. They even receive an unexpected visit from Frosty the Snowman, explained Sarah Lynd, 14, of Urbandale, who plays Frosty.

:: ‘Sally Cotter’ cast
Sally Cotter: Alyssa Cokinis
Reubenon Ryebread: Carter Kemmet
The Censor: Paige Amdahl
Harmonica: Maggie Dressel
Dave: Jonathan Buehrer
Professor Albatross Underdrawers: Corey Spiess
Professor Shiftia Shape: Michaela Craigmile
Ursa Malaise: Bridget Johnston
Ed Molar/Lord Murderdeath: Brennan Antone
Student 1/Amy A. Aardvarkovitch/Sally’s Mother: Letters: Jamie Van Syoc
Student 2/Slymything 1/Letters: Ashley Young
Student 3/Slymything 2/Letters: Canadian Mountie: Sarah Lynd
Student 4/Slymything 3/Letters: Taylor Hildreth
Student 5/Goodydrops 1/Letters: Emily Erickson
Student 6/Goodydrops 2/Letters: Erica Clark
Beetles/Letters: Bria Stender, Mariah Myers, Kinzie Fagerstrom, Rachel Henderson

:: 'The Bestest Christmas' cast
Narrator: Bria Stender
Kaylie: Mariah Myers
Jessie: Kinzie Fagerstrom
Mother: Rachel Henderson
Frosty: Sarah Lynd

Photos from Plymouth North High School, in Plymouth, MA

Plymouth North was the first school to book a production of the play, and was the first in my home state of Massachusetts. I don't live there anymore, so I couldn't see it, but some family and friends did and had a great time. Here are some photos and a video. More videos here.
Also, check out this news report about the production produced by the school.

Photos from Milford High School, in Milford, DE

Of all the productions from the fall of 2009, I might have had the most interaction with the one in Milford, DE. In addition to chatting with the director, cast, and crew online, I also "sent" my friend Sean, from The Remembrall Live podcast to see it. He had a rave review (you can listen to it here), and, a few weeks later, when I got a video and a t-shirt from the production, so I could see just how great it was. Truly excellent work from everyone involved. More photos here. I'll try to post videos sometime, too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Photos from Birch Run High School, in Birch Run, MI

Birch Run had a really fun take on the look of the show. Since it's all Sally's dream they had Sally and most of the rest of the cast in pajamas. A very clever idea and it led to a really eye-catching set of photos. I had some great interaction with the cast on Facebook. Thanks to everyone involved. More photos here.