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'Crazy' fun: Park High School actors delve into fall play

Park's fall play includes student actors (from left) Lexi Kleinschmidt, Hannah Birttnen and Lexi Valentine. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente1 / 2
Park High School student actors (from left) Hannah Birttnen, Lexi Valentine and Troy Michael Andrew Lowry Jr. rehearse a scene from the school's fall play, "My son is crazy but promising." Bulletin photo by Scott Wente2 / 2

Park High School's fall play posed at least two challenges for the student cast.

The actors had to learn characters that were not familiar to them. But first they had to research the play called "My son is crazy but promising" because none had heard of it before.

"You had to Wikipedia it," student director Autumn Allram said, referring to the online encyclopedia.

Once learning it's a light comedy, they embraced the selection and went about developing their roles, a cast of characters - literally and figuratively - gathered at a worn-down resort in the fictional Arizona desert town of Tumbleweed. The play tells the story of a 20-something low-budget screenwriter who ditches Hollywood with plans to buy the worn-down Ritz Apache Lodge and find buried treasure nearby.

The play, a farce written by Tim Kelly, is most often performed by high school and community theater groups. Park will stage it Nov. 3-6.

"It's a great high school show," director Emily Ball said. "It's fun and light, but they still have a chance to be characters different from themselves."

That description amused Allram and actor Gabriella Riley, who said some students ended up playing characters with personality traits comically similar to their own.

Still, Riley said, the play challenged her and other cast members to develop their unfamiliar characters. Since the production is not widely known, there were no preconceived ideas about how to play the parts, she said.

Ball said she chose the production because it fits the theme for this year's Park theater productions, which is "We are family." It's an ensemble cast played by 15 Park students. There are three student directors and another 15 kids involved in technical aspects of the production.

The student actors include: Riley, Troy Michael Andrew Lowry Jr., Leah Haliburton, Jake Speirs, Lexi Kleinschmidt, Hannah Birttnen, Nate Pearson, Nick Zamora, Lexi Valentine, Keegan Greene, Taylor Gartmen, Mariah Schumacher, Justin Hiemstra, Jessi Dean and Jordan Mars.

Allram, Kristine Brown and Chelsea Rowan are student directors.

Allram said the cast is excited about the production.

"I think it's going to be amazing," she said.

If you go

Park High School theater will stage "My son is crazy - but promising," a farce, at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 3-5 and at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6. For advance tickets go to

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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