Class earns A with ‘Class Act Comedies’

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, April 22, 2009

“Class Act Comedies” is a class act for Pearl River Central High School second semester theatre arts students.

Under the always artful direction of drama instructor Deborah Craig, these mostly beginner thespians breathe life into these two one-acts — and the hilarity ensues. Craig’s firm hand has once again established a tightly knit ensemble cast where students are allowed to shine individually while working as a whole.

Ensemble members include Anna Adorno, Samantha Bales, Reid Crowell, Kayla Cutrer, Kallie Haik, Jacob Leonard, Hayden Rankin, Landon Skipper, Brandon Steelman, Donielle Strawder, Adam Tedesco and Elliot Zalasnik. As a team, the ensemble were able to create unbelievably funny characters while still being totally believable.

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Spinning out from the ensemble were the show’s leads, Chris Navo and Britney Smith, both graduating seniors, who were able to add the needed spice to their roles without overpowering the stew, complimenting each other and the group.

The simple classroom set and the everyday wear costumes both lent themselves to this actor driven show without being distracting. As real life students, the cast must have felt right at home in high school student gear and settings.

“Class Act Comedies,” is a show of two one-acts about high school life pieced together by a brief introduction performed by the cast. The two shows fit together nicely to provide one great evening of entertainment.

In the first act, “This is a test,” by Stephen Gregg, the audience will get a look inside the head of obsessive student Alan, played by Navo, when he experiences a pre-test nightmare. As the clock ticks, Alan’s distractions become increasingly more real as the one test suddenly morphs into the gateway to his entire future.

Craig said this is one of the most often performed high school plays in the nation.

In the second act, “Homework Eats Dog,” by Alan Haehnel, a darker comedy emerges while students in “the hour of desperation,” grasp at straws to come up with excuses for not having completed a big science project due on Friday the 13th. The group largely fails in swaying their teacher until Amanda, played by Smith, finds the one and only way to get that extension, saving herself and the rest of her class.

The PRCHS students of the theatre arts class are very excited to bring these one-acts to the county. They earned their roles through an audition process that started with the students performing monologues. They have been in rehearsal since February and any show is a huge commitment.

For comic timing, Craig led the group through a series of improvisational exercises which the students agreed were important for focus and helping in the development of their ensemble.

They invite everyone to “come see the show.”

“Class Act Comedies” will run this weekend, for one weekend only, at 7 p.m. on both Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25. General admission tickets can be purchased for $5 and are available at the door on the evening of the performance.