By: Michael Lee, Contributing Writer
The Centralia High School Drama Department will be performing Little Women adapted by Peter Clapham from Louisa May Alcott’s novel on Friday, November 22, Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24.
Below is the cast list for Little Women. Students auditioned for a role, and Dr. Andrew Darr, English teacher, and Ms. Kortney Sebben, English teacher, chose the final students for the cast:
Meg — Emily Burkhardt
Jo — Caroline Million
Beth — Kat Cusick
Amy — Emilee Morris
Marmie — Mariah Barr
Mr. Lawrence — Nik Gash
Laurie — Andrew Rish
Mr. Brook — Thomas Hudson
Aunt March — Cheyanna Scheeler
Hannah –Kadence Petersen
Mr. March –Gage Farrens
Director- Dr. Darr
Drama Club is an extracurricular activity offered at CHS. Students, under the guidance of Darr and Sebben, perform plays, improvise shows and sponsor exciting, performance-based fundraisers. The club differs from the actual Drama class that Darr teaches at CHS. While Drama Club focuses on the performance and acting aspects of plays, Drama class focuses on introducing students to elements of the theatrical arts including improvisation, auditions, production design and playwriting.
Last year, Drama Club performed You Can’t Take It With You for their fall play and then staged a series of one-act plays entitled Check Please and 146 Point Flame for their spring performance. This year the department will be presenting the play adaptation of Little Women for their fall performance.Both instructors worked together to find the perfect adaptation for their group. Darr said, “Ms. Sebben and I worked hard to find a fun and engaging version of the play, and we nailed it. The play captures the fun, charm and delight of Alcott’s original novel, and I think our cast will knock it out of the park.”
Many factors go into performing a play. Darr, who has a doctorate in theater arts, said, “I think what makes a ‘good’ play is dependent upon the actors that will be in it and the space that the play will be performed in. What I like about Little Women is that most of the characters are the same age as the actors playing them, and it takes place in a single set perfect for our small stage.”
Sebben expressed what she likes to look for when choosing a play and casting the characters. She said, “A good play will reach the intended audience, and be comedic or dramatic (or a little bit of both). I look for plays with a colorful cast of characters I think students will enjoy performing. We look for plays built around our students, so I look for a good cast size (nothing too big or small) with a mix of male and female characters, and sometimes if I know who wants to try out, I might select a play for that group based on personalities.”
A lot of effort goes into preparing for these performances. The actors and directors spend months rehearsing and nearly a month on stage design. This year they have a very large group of people to help with stage, lighting, sound and makeup.
The actors take a lot of time to prepare for their character. Caroline Million, who has been in Drama Club for four years and is playing Jo March in the upcoming Little Women play, said, “The way I prepare for a character is I think about who they are, what they like, what they dislike, how do they walk, etc. I really try to think of how I can portray someone else without making it feel awkward or forced.”
Cheyanna Scheeler, who has been a part of Drama Club for three years and will be playing Aunt March in the upcoming play, said, “I read my lines over and over until I can remember as best as I can, and then I watch the play that we are doing if there is one and try to see how a character moves and acts while speaking.”
Being a member of Drama Club can teach a person many life skills. Both Million and Scheeler said that people can learn to develop self-confidence and build their public speaking skills. Generally, these actors and actresses perform in front of over 50 people on performance nights. Scheeler said, “If it wasn’t for drama, I would still be this shy little girl that rarely speaks. I mean I still am, but I’m a lot more outgoing than I used to be.”
Drama Club is always accepting new members and the existing members will welcome any newcomers.