Advanced Acting class to debut ‘Melancholdy Play’

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Katie Whaley

The Performing Arts Center stage is set and ready to host a spectacular winter play performed by the Advanced Acting class. The production is “Melancholy Play,” which debuts Dec. 1 and runs Dec. 2 and 3.
Drama teacher Holly Kerns believes this play is like no other. Through the extraordinary script, the unparalleled delivery and the jittery aura of an emotional comedy, Kerns says this show is going to be a one-of-a-kind experience.
“This play is fresh and kind of funky. It’s partly about falling in love and partly about enjoying our moods as they pass over, whether we are happy or sad. ‘Melancholy Play’ celebrates reveling in experiencing various moods,” Kerns said. “However, more than just being a play about these things, it’s all in the delivery, which isn’t quite usual…after all, it’s a farce about being melancholy. Expect the unexpected.”
The unpredictable parts of this play starts with the casting. Each actor is paired with another to play the same character. Kerns explains this as a way for her students to become better actors as a team.
“I chose this play for Advanced Acting to perform because I wanted to have more than one person play the same character,” Kerns said. “I thought this would be a great exercise for acting students—to work on not just building character, but working with fellow actors to construct the same character, recognizable as the same, even with different actors playing that person. It has been a creative challenge.”
Advanced Acting student sophomore Bailey Long, is excited about the new learning experience. She shares her character, Frances, with senior Felix Brightwell, and says she has grown as an actress through practicing this play.
“It’s really fun. Felix has had fun, too, I think. He and I are Frances together,” Long said. “It is very difficult trying to sync up our character interpretations, personality traits, movements and everything into one person. But it’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out.”
Junior Finn Kisida is also eager to see the final result. He wants to make the best show possible, which means practicing hard during class and in late-night rehearsals to really fit into his character’s shoes.
“I play Lorenzo, who is an Italian therapist living in Illinois. Lorenzo is very eccentric and only makes large and grand movements, very over dramatic, very charismatic. He’s likeable but not in the traditional sense. Kind of like a puppy who’s so ugly that it’s cute,” Kisida said. “Lorenzo is incredibly fun to play because he’s very wild, but it’s definitely tiresome keeping the energy level high and consistent.”
In acting, becoming one’s character is important, as the play is a story of the character’s life. So the most important and hardest part, Long believes, is figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
“ getting to try different things to find my character. Trying different walks, different voices, different ways of moving,” Long said. “All characters you play are different. You can’t just do the same thing over and over. You test different things out each time to see how you want your character to be, and how best it will fit the description/script. This play really challenges me to do that.”
Beyond the characters and the acting, however, is the script. The script sets the tone for any kind of production, Kerns says, and is a key component to the telling of a story. She boasts the “Melancholy Play” script as satirical and a bit burlesque.
“This play is a farce, so it has some great identity reveals, reversals of fortune, absurd and improbable events. It keeps a person guessing about where it will go,” Kerns said. “I still laugh out loud during rehearsals because the script is surprising in its humor—and I’ve heard the lines over a hundred times at this point.”
Kerns continues to talk about the play more in-depth, which she can’t wait for the audience to experience all the emotions and twists involved.
“This play is fresh and kind of funky. It’s partly about falling in love and partly about enjoying our moods as they pass over, whether we are happy or sad. Melancholy Play celebrates reveling in experiencing various moods,” Kerns said. “However, more than just being a play about these things, it’s all in the delivery, which isn’t quite usual … after all, it’s a farce about being melancholy. Expect the unexpected.”
Tickets cost $6 for general admission and $4 for RBHS students with their ID.