The Lincoln County High School drama club performed The Curious Savage last week, with their grand performance Monday night. The Neldon C. Mathews Center stage was transformed for the audience to enjoy the stage experience with the actors. Risers were brought in and seats placed on them, and every seat in the house was full. Jacob Lester, director, said there were 85 seats, and seats were full every night. Those who came right before opening viewed from the balcony.
Cherry Larounis, also director, said, “It was a lot more work, but it was all too fun.”
The students actively practiced for the last six weeks, and Lester said, “It’s the shortest time we’ve ever done a play this soon.”
Only 11 high schoolers performed in the play. “This play sees less actors because there are no extras or singing.”
Mrs. Savage, played by Jana Ahlstrom, was placed in a sanatorium because $10 million of estate money was “misplaced,” and her stepchildren, the Senator (played by Savannah Harr), Lily Belle (played by Haylee Zierow) and Samuel (played by Isaac Johnson), would not release her until she presented them with the undeserved inheritance.
Ahlstrom portrayed the wise and witty character Savage with ease. Her encounters with Zierow were amusing, mature and convincing of the not-so-pleasant relationship between stepmother and step-daughter.
Isaac Johnson was excited in his character, speaking with a scottish accent. His one-line comebacks received numerous chuckles from the audience.
Harr’s character appeared to be the oldest of the siblings, and she represented the character of the Senator with poise and elegance. She separated the siblings bickering in a mature older-sibling fashion.
Gloeckner perfectly portrayed the sanitarium patient Fairy May. Gloeckner, who does well with getting into quirky characters, presented her own flare to Fairy May, and received wild hoots from the audience during the peak of her crazy scenes.
Derek Anderson, who plays Hannibal, another patient, had a calm and collective character, rationalizing and calculating statistics to support wild scenarios. Thinking he knew how to play the violin, he would make screeches with his bow and finish off the tune with a pluck of a string, perfecting his character’s “insanity.”
The cranky Mrs. Paddy, played by Asia Frehner, hates everything, and that includes… literally everything. Her lines consisted of rattling off the lists of things she hates, which she did effortlessly. Although her tight lips did crack into smirks a few times during the performance, her character was as amusing as she was rigid.
Thalia Katschke played the quintessential Florence Williams. She was graceful and poignant, although suffered from delusion after losing her son. After the last act, the characters’ “normal” self emerged, and Katschke led in her son John Thomas, played by little Bodie Anderson that drew “ahs” from the crowd.
Nathaniel Frehner plays the misguided Jeffrey, who assumes his face is scarred from a tragic plane accident, when nothing shows. Covering his face at all times, he seemed to bring rational thoughts from an irrational character.
Brandon Jackson played Dr. Emmet, and his assistant nurse Miss Willie was played by Molly Nelson. Jackson, who is normally in a more comical character, was more professional in his demeanor this act. His character diagnosed patients and granted release, if possible.
Nelson played a quaint, but firm, nurse that did a good job at babysitting the residents. In the end, it was discovered that Jeffrey was in fact her husband, and that she was in her position to be closer to him.
After sending her step-children on a wild goose chase for the estate money, a happy and just ending resolves the issue. Although some of the plays ideas were rather mature, the students performed them with great talent.
Lights and sound were provided by Avarie Mehring and Devon Malone.
The drama class, along with Baylee McCrosky, Malone, Mehring, Amanda Johnson and Jessica Settles, all designed the set.
Hats off to a smashing opening performance. It filled the auditorium with laughter and left the audience with a satisfied performance. The anticipated spring musical will be planned next for the drama club to present next year.