A play that faces reality
A student took aim. The gun fired and another student dropped to the floor. For a moment all was shockingly quiet on the stage at McLouth High School's auditorium.
The stage darkened except for a single spotlit section where Ginger, played by Amelia Coffin, wept as she leaned over the body of her boyfriend, Johnny.
In the audience, the rest of the student cast sat silent, watching the rehearsal of "Why Darkness Seems so Light."
The public performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the MHS auditorium.
The high school performance is anything but a typical high school play.
"It's probably not something that I would bring small children to," said director Michael Brandel. "It deals with heavy content as far as teen inner city issues."
The play deals with violence on the street and in the home, and date rape, although there is no profanity and nothing very explicit, Brandel said.
"It would be considered a PG-13," Brandel said. "None of the scenes are explicit and there's nothing that's really eye-popping. There's just some serious issues. I think smaller children would not be entertained or appreciate it."
Coffin, whose character, Ginger, is a girl who witnessed Johnny's shooting, said she thinks the play is strong.
"I loved my role as soon as I saw it," she said. "I just try to picture myself in that role and I think wow I don't know if I could deal with it."
Brandel, who consistently reminded students to stay in character throughout rehearsals, said effective drama depends on real commitment from the actors.
"Some of the roles in the play require more commitment than others," Brandel said. "The longer we go, and the more of themselves they put into it, I think it will be a good experience for everybody."
Brandel described the drama as "a social awareness play."
"It's good in that it kind of brings them face-to-face with some real issues in our society," Brandel said. "I think it does a fine job of pointing those things out, and also pointing out how we can avoid such heavy problems and get on with our lives and make better choices."
Cast members are: Kathryn Keyes as Mrs. Appleton, Joel Dickerson as Tank, Michael Johnson as Johnny, Coffin as Ginger, Lisa Smelser as Bee, Devyn Roberts as Danae, Neva Gardner as Courtney, Nick Beerbower as Rory, Ted Luse as David, Russell Frick as the Rev. Davis,
Neva Gardner as Johnny's mother, Alayna Stewart as Ginger's mother, Russell Frick as Ginger's father, Christine Glover as Sammie, Lisa Smelser as Rose, Alayna Stewart as Diane,
Kathryn Keyes as Whitney, Katie Booth as Megan, Devyn Roberts as Billy, Nick Beerbower as Marcus, Michael Johnson as Nathan, Ted Luse as Art, Joel Dickerson as Marcus and Nathan's stepfather, Alayna Stewart as Sally, Marcus and Nathan's mother, Amelia Coffin as Chris and Katie Booth as Amy.
Crew members are: Michael Brandel, director; Rebecca Chambers, assistant director; Amanda Brown, stage manager; Heather Alterman and Claudia Alterman, make-up and wardrobe; Anthony Mack and Bill Brown, lighting; Bill Brown, light board; Crystal Snyder and Jessica Denham, sound design; Nick Beerbower, ticket design; Nikki Bellinder and Nick Beerbower, program design; and Nikki Bellinder, Jennifer Zachariah, Michala Karn and Jessica Denham, ushers.