Student-run play returns to Shaler Area
A group of students at Shaler Area High school is working hard to revive the tradition of the student-run play.
More than 20 students are putting together a production of “We'll Be Right Back After This Murder” that will open at 7 p.m. April 22 at the high school auditorium. There will be a second show at 7 p.m. April 23.
The student-run play production began in 2012 and ran again in 2013, which is what inspired seniors Tori Lorenz and Natalee Junker to take it up this year after a two-year hiatus.
“It was really cool to watch the seniors direct it during our freshman year,” Junker said.
Directors Lorenz, playing Barbetta Chippendale, and Junker, playing Officer Shirley, are acting alongside about 20 cast members in the show and several crew members. They began rehearsing after the spring musical ended in mid-March, not leaving much time to put together a full show. So when they researched plays, Lorenz said they looked for productions that could be put on in a jiffy.
“We'll Be Right Back After This Murder” follows the dysfunctional Bellamy family as they try to figure out who killed patriarch Hampton Bellamy, who was shot, stabbed, poisoned, clubbed and run over by a truck. Everyone is a suspect in this two-act whodunit comedy.
“It's an enjoyable show,” said junior Dan Bittner, who plays Captain Bogie Graham. “It's really funny. It's a murder mystery. You can go see it and enjoy it with friends and family.”
Part of the proceeds from ticket sales and the bake sale will be donated to the North Hills Community Outreach, Junker said.
Being on stage and directing has been a challenge for the pair of senior directors, they admitted. Junker said it's hard to act in a scene while trying to direct and maintain order.
“It's one of the most enjoyable things I've done… but it's stressful not having anyone tell you what to do,” Junker said. “It's really hard telling your friends what to do and getting them to listen.”
But running their own production does have its perks. Senior Julie Loesch, who plays Cherise Chippendale, said it has given them more ownership over their characters and over the entire show.
“It's fun having freedom and being able to interpret characters in your own way,” Loesch said.
“It's really cool because we did it. Nobody else did it,” added Junker.
Rachel Farkas is a contributing writer for the Tribune-Review.