Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Friday night’s one-act fall plays presented by the Nederland Middle Senior High School theater department all had tidbits of how to live a life, or at least to understand it. Or not.
The first play, “Being Rose,” is told from Rose’s point of view as the actors re-enact periods of her life, not all of them pretty. Rose goes through the angst of being a teenager, of struggling with being an alcoholic, of going through the heartbreak of a divorce. Just when it seems she is on the right track, she gets laid off from her job, which had helped her get back on course. As she begins to fade from reality, Rose recaptures the various life-changing events she survived, while four different actors portray her evolution.
Old Rose is played by Clementine Miller, who takes us through Rose’s life with her words as she progresses through the various ages of her life. Miller portrays the difficult times with a thoughtful, at times emotional demeanor that holds fast to the very end. Child Rose clutching her doll is played by Seraph Kelly; Teenage Rose is played by Lucy Schalz, Twenties Rose is played by Annabel Ivey and Fifties Rose is played by Natalie Taylor.
Jamie Lammers plays both the headmaster and Rose’s husband, two very different roles, which he handles with ease.
The second Friday night play was “Personal Effects” an amusing look into the lives of teenage boys as they discuss their imminent dates with girls they hardly know.
Townes Bakke steals the show as Kevin Mallory with his bumbling, overzealous, desperate plans to be “cool.” But nothing quite works out, in a series of awkward situations that are hilarious and real as the evening goes on.
“Mirrors” is a mystery. William Culver plays Fred Peterson, a husband and father who interacts with his wife, played by Marguerite Bradley, and children played by Aiden Castleberry and Rowan Harper.
Once again, nothing is quite as it seems to be, when seen through other people’s eyes. Culver is excellent as the calm, resigned man who accepts the circling conversations with the phrase, “That’s my family.”
All of the plays took on adult themes, in which the teens get to contemplate life situations and act out how the characters deal with many of the issues that face people of all ages. The teen actors demonstrated talent and compassion for the people they brought to life on the stage.
On Saturday night the theater company performed, “Help Wanted,” and “A Murdered Mystery.”
On both nights, between acts, talent show acts included Cara Bloomquist, Fiona Higgins, Sasha Godsil, Hattie Bakke, Ellie Brewer and Hayley Turner.
The annual fall plays are often the debut performance on the high school stage for many students. The actors learn the discipline and hard work it takes to put together one acts for the school and the community. The plays are a coordinated effort to put talented actors and singers on the stage.
(Originally published in the November 9, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)