Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT—Beginning this evening, Friday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, the Southeast Iowa area has ample opportunity to take in a variety of theater performances from area high schools.
Washington, Mt. Pleasant, and New London High Schools will each offer three show times for their fall plays.
Washington High School perform D.W. Gregory’s dramatic Radium Girls
Radium Girls is based on a true story of the 1920s female laborers who suffered from radium poisoning due to the practices encouraged by their work place, U.S. Radium Plant, and the incorrect science presented by Madame Marie Curie.
While the show calls for minimal scenery, the special effects and large cast make the production a large 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 all of the characters, most actors are portraying multiple characters with the exception of the lead roles played by seniors Keegan Colby and Molly Klinzman.
Kolby plays the complex President of U.S. 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 attorney Raymond Berry.
Costumer Lisa Hughes and student costume crew, Megan Kitche, Makynna Morgan and Mikaila Mathesor, had their work cut out for them with such a large crew and even larger cast.
“I usually like to show the progression of time,” Costumer Lisa Hughes said. “With this large of a cast, though, and so many playing multiple roles, most of the actors have one costume for each character throughout the play.”
One costume per character is utilized to help the audience keep tabs on characters.
The actors do a remarkable job of changing cadence, speed, tone, and accents throughout to differentiate between characters.
The Washington High School cast portray deeply complex characters through a large range of emotions.
“This is a very real play with very real people,” Klinzman said. “The story of these girls led to a lot of the worker rights and safety we have today.”
“It is still very relatable to today’s workers’ issues,” she said.
“It’ll make you feel something, and that’s important,” Colby said
Catch a performance of Washington High School’s Radium Girls today and tomorrow at 7 p.m., and again Sunday, Nov. 13 at 2 pm.
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 full-length play set in the late 1800s about a housewife who becomes fed-up with her condescending husband.
Mt. Pleasant High School students carry an emotionally heavy story through their portrayals of characters.
Male lead and senior Robbie Heaton says “It has a strong message about feminism and is just a journey of Nora’s self-discover.”
Madeleine Smith, who plays Emmy Helmer, finds additional themes.
“It is about influence from your parents to your spouse to your children,” she said.
Because the play deals heavily with trauma and abuse, the high school cast had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“I have to throw all my morals out the window to play Nora’s husband,” Heaton said. “Every line I say makes me incredibly uncomfortable.”
Female lead, Natalie McCormick plays the housewife Nora Helmer.
“I get genuinely angry,” she said of the way her character is treated.
Senior Isaac Jerrel takes on his first major role in a play as Nils Krogstad, and says his character adds to the discomfort the whole cast feels and the belittling of Nora.
“He makes me uncomfortable when I have to call Nora a ‘petted pampered creature,’” he said.
With such heavy themes and cruel actions, Director Marlene DePriest says she is “exteremely proud of how they have grown and become their characters.”
“Every time someone is on stage something new is happening,” Jordan Crooks, who plays Anna, said.
Much of the cast attests to the play having many layers to understand and that it is worth viewing more than once.
“You’re going to see something new every time,” Summer Schroeder, who plays Christina Linden, said.
“If you come for comedy, you’re not going to find it here,” McCormick said. “It’s really heavy.”
Mt. Pleasant High School’s production of A Doll’s House opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. with shows again 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.
New London Performing Arts lighten 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 the audience in stitches throughout the performances.
The play consists of characters like a mall security guard turned detective, squirrel-hunting hillbilly sisters, a former Vegas showgirl with a knack for knitting, a not-very smart maid, grouchy cook, bitter journalist, and mimes.
The 19 student cast is excited to perform for the community.
Show times 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 7 p.m. show will also be senior night for performing seniors.
New London Performing Arts offer multiple ticket options.
VIP PACKAGE: For $20 VIP Ticket holders enjoy early admission 45 minutes prior to show time, reserved seating in the first five rows of the auditorium, a drink and popcorn, and pre-performance pictures on stage with cast and crew. These tickets are limited.
EARLY ACCESS PASS: This ticket gives attendees admits guests 30 minutes prior to 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 before the show begins.
Tickets are available at the door and online at www.schoolpay.com/link/afamilyreuniontodiefor