EXETER — The Wyoming Area Drama Club is stepping away from familiar crowd-pleasers and diving into new territory with its latest production.
The drama club will perform the play “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick from Friday, Nov. 20 to Sunday, Nov. 22 in the high school auditorium.
“The Curious Savage” is a comedic play that takes place in the 1950s and focuses on the character Ethel P. Savage whose husband dies and leaves her approximately $10 million, but her stepchildren commit her to a mental hospital in hopes of taking her money.
According to drama club moderator Sarah Pellegrini, it was the students’ idea to do the show.
“In the past, we’ve done material that was a little more lighthearted and the students have been asking for a more mature piece to put on,” Pellegrini said. “This is my fourth year as director, so just getting to know who we have in our talent I thought this was the perfect year to put on something that’s a little bit heavier, and it’s a little bit different than what we’re used to doing here at Wyoming Area.”
Playing the role of Ethel P. Savage is senior Kelly Clarke, 17, who said she has never acted in a play before but decided to give it a try in her senior year.
“I decided to audition, so I looked over the monologue and said I’d like to give it a shot,” said Clarke. “I practiced for a couple of weeks before the auditions and I’m happy that I decided to try out.”
Rehearsing for the upcoming show has had its difficulties, as Pellegrini said students are taking on the task of trying to play the roles of older characters.
Clarke has had no problems relating to her character.
“She’s a an older character who tries to be younger,” she said. “She’s very eccentric and she has all of these elaborate stories, wears elaborate clothes, and I think it’s very funny to be her character. Since she’s older, I have to relate to how a woman in her late 60s would act, walk and talk. I have to keep in mind the situation is her three stepkids are trying to put her in this crazy house.”
In additio nto trying to get to become one with their characters, some students have had to do extensive research on life in the 1950s for their roles.
Senior Hannah Klaproth, 17, has been involved in the drama club at Wyoming Area since she was in seventh grade and will play the role of Dr. Emmett.
Klaproth had to research what life was like for female doctors back in those times, as they were not taken seriously because the profession was believed to be a man’s job and women were still looked upon as housewives.
“Being a woman doctor in the 1950s was not very common at all,” she said. “I drew off of my character that, in order to be a girl doctor back in in the 1950s, she would have to be very confident and very proud of her achievements, and I can relate to that because I try really, really hard. I’m actually going for a major (in chemical engineering) not a lot of girls go for, so I can relate.”
With opening night right around the corner, Pellegrini and her students are hard at work to deliver a great performance.
Klaproth has been performing on stage long enough to not feel any nerves, but admits she does still enjoy the thrill of opening night.
“You always get the hype from opening night and it makes all of this work worth it,” said Klaproth. “I don’t get jitters, but I do get excited. Not stage fright, but just excitement.”
Clarke already feeling butterflies in her stomach over her first big performance, but is confident in the hard work she has put in to prepare herself.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’ve been studying my lines a lot, so I hope I’m prepared.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher