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Edison middle school, high school students to perform 4 comedies

Cary Ashby • Jan 12, 2017 at 10:20 AM

MILAN — Boredom was fruitful for Lydia Hoag.

The Edison High School junior used her time to write her first play, “The Cat That Had a Shell.”

“I was bored in study hall and I was wearing a turtle shirt. I wondered if turtles know what they are,” Hoag said. “It was a random idea that just developed.”

“The Cat That Had a Shell” will be one of four one-act plays presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the EHS auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $6 for adults. All tickets are general admission and will be sold at the door.

The evening will begin with two short plays presented by 38 middle school students — “The Internet is a Distract.....Oh Look a Kitten” and “Homework Eats Dog and Other Woeful Tales.” Each of the plays is a comedy.

Rex Stanforth, drama director of the Edison Drama Club, said the turnout of middle schoolers was more than he expected, so instead of implementing his original plan of two plays featuring high school students and one for the middle schoolers, he added a second performance for the younger students.

After the first two plays, the high school students will perform “The Cat That Had a Shell,” which will be directed by Hoag. 

“The high school students are doing a very good job,” said Stanforth, who praised them for “stepping up” and working independently while he spent more time with the middle school students. 

“It’s obvious they’ve spent a lot of time on their parts. They’re expressive and the characters are funny,” he said.

Hoag said directing her own play hasn’t been difficult since she is a dance teacher and is admittedly bossy.

“These people know me. They’ve been in plays with me … so they trust me,” said Hoag, who is in her fourth year in the Edison Drama Club.

She said the biggest challenges have been knowing people have different senses of humor, but she added it’s been great to make revisions on the fly since she’s not directing an adaptation of someone else’s work.

“It’s made it so much better,” she said.

Senior Zachary Roth plays a hamster with an allergy to wood. This is his fifth or sixth role with the Edison Drama Club.

“He sits in a cage covered in wood shavings. It’s like living in a world full of flowers with a pollen allergy,” Roth said.

“It’s about a turtle with an identity crisis. So he goes around the pet shop, trying to find out who he is,” he added.

“The script itself is funny, but we added some things to make it funnier,” said Roth, referring to sight gags and some staging.

Another challenge for Hoag is the end result isn’t exactly what she sees in her mind.

“So far it’s been very close and I’m very pleased with it,” she said.

The final play of the evening is “This is a Test,” by Stephen Gregg.

This is the first year in the drama club for junior Leah Krul.

“I have a lot of friends who have been in it since their freshman year and they talked to me about it,” she said. “I got this extra push to do it.”

Krul initially was involved in set construction.

“I really like building things with my dad, so I know all the basics with tools,” she said.

Krul has enjoyed performing skits in class, but “This is a Test” will be her first on-stage performance. She plays one of the students.

The setting is the classroom of Mrs. Williams, played by Jessica Graves. The play follows Ellen, played by Allison Pennell, and her friend Louis, played by Roth.

“A student is studying for a test. She is freaking out about it. It’s about what she’s thinking about as she takes the test,” Krul said.

The junior won’t be part of the drama club in the spring because she plays softball, but she plans to return in the fall.

And she’s OK starting out with a small role.

“You have to start somewhere. It’s best to start small, even if it’s a background character,” Krul said. 

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