The humor is not lost on Director Andrea Unger. She explains, “I love the irony of a group of mainly home schooled kids performing a play about a high school class putting on a play.” Unger is directing DreamWrights’ upcoming show, Our Miss Brooks in which high school teacher, Miss Brooks, is obliged to direct the high school play, much to her chagrin. Unger laughs, “Most of the cast and crew have never stepped foot in a school, so I think that’s pretty funny in itself.”
Funny, yes. But the skills kids can learn through live theater is no funny business. Unger knows that exploring live theater gives adults and kids alike the opportunity to grow and develop skills and talents that many don’t even know they possess. “To watch this development and, as a director, help facilitate the process is so exciting. For example, to see a self-described shy person take on the enormous challenge of just getting up in front of their peers , then eventually transform into —become— the character is amazing to witness. Growth takes place in every facet of this theater.”
Participation in Our Miss Brooks gives these teens the opportunity to grow and stretch themselves. Many of the cast are early teens, 12 – 14 years old, portraying high school seniors and adults. Unger understands the challenge this presents to them. “This means they have to understand adult/older teen issues and perspectives. Something they haven’t yet experienced in their own lives but need to bring to the stage, believably.”
Unger and her troupe are up to the challenge. “While I love working with casts and crews of all ages, teens have an approach and energy that is all their own. They have great ideas about character development and are quite enthusiastic. This show is a really good play, and it’s been exciting to see what the teens are doing with it.”
Altogether, Unger is directing 27 kids between the ages of ten and 18. (17 in the cast and 10 in the crew) Additionally, she works with several adults including a Production Stage Manager, and a Technical Director as well as an additional trusty band of volunteers. Unger’s three Producers also volunteered to take on the job as Props Mistresses. “They are true multi-taskers. Also, while most of our Designers are adults, our Costume Designer, Cali Fife, is a teen.”
These young actors and crew members are exceptionally enthusiastic to bring Our Miss Brooks to the community. Fourteen year old, John Patterson, who plays Ted Wilder, sums it up well. “It’s going to be a great show. All the actors have taken so well to their characters. The dialog is fast-paced, entertaining and witty. That, along with the set and props will make it really good.”
Our Miss Brooks opens Thursday, May 19 at 10am and runs both May 20 and 21 at 2:30pm and 6:30pm. DreamWrights will have a piano/percussion duet performing 40s and early 50s music beginning 30 minutes prior to each performance. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dreamwrights.org or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.