MONTICELLO — Sibling rivalry is the theme of the Monticello High School spring play, “Mutually Assured Destruction: 10 Plays About Brothers and Sisters,” which will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 14-15, in the high school auditorium.
It culminates a challenging year for MHS thespians, who have seen an outdoor performance in the fall, limited capacity and performing in masks.
Sophomore actress and student director Megan LeJeune succinctly responds to the difficulties of doing drama in the year of COVID:
“Absolutely worth it,” LeJeune said.
The local thespian troupe was thrilled to be able to have a spring musical in April, and are just as happy to add the one-act dramas to the stage this weekend, which focus on sibling conflicts through the decades. They start with the relatively modern 2015 scene, then go back in time, ending in a 1922 setting.
Director Nicki Graham said the play — with just two actors in each scene — plays into COVID-19 precautions and more easily allows for social distancing of students.
“I needed a play where I could easily social distance the actors, and I could limit contact tracing if someone became COVID positive,” Graham said.
It also allows for a more flexible rehearsal schedule.
“So many of my students work, so I had to find a show where I could practice whenever the students were free, and it was easier to schedule two people at a time than find a time when the whole cast could be there to rehearse.”
LeJeune likes the format.
“It gives everyone a chance to shine, because we all have our scenes of two (people), so everyone plays a bigger role,” LeJeune said. “It brings out the individuality of everyone.”
Fellow sophomore Rylee Kurth is featured in two scenes — one with LeJeune that takes place in 1993 — and also enjoys what “Mutually Assured Destruction” brings out of its actors.
“Even though we can’t do it as a bigger group, we get more personal connections with people we have scenes with,” Kurth said. “You definitely get to see everyone’s talent.”
She also thinks it will be a hit for parents: “You’ll get to see the kid you came for a little longer.”
Kurth said performing in masks has become second nature, although it can limit what emotions come from an actor’s face.
Graham said this year’s three major productions could not have been undertaken without the strong support of school administration, as well as the school’s talented, dedicated actors.
“The thespian students are some of the most well-rounded students at this school, and they are go-getters. They jump at the chance to be involved and perform,” Graham said. “My hope is that, based on the success of the last few years, we will continue to grow our program and get back to larger casts in the future.”
Kurth does miss some of the camaraderie that typically builds between thespians as they work long hours to bring a production to fruition.
“I haven’t even seen some people who are in it, because rehearsals are staggered,” Kurth said.
But she is on board, as is LeJeune, just to be able to hit the stage in the year of a pandemic.
“I would do it again, in a heartbeat,” LeJeune said.
Info and cast
“Mutually Assured Destruction: 10 Plays About Brothers and Sisters”
By Don Zolidis
Friday and Saturday, May 14-15 in the Monticello High School Auditorium
Seating will be limited in order to afford social distancing.
Tickets can be ordered at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfwpK9OxI62kH6Gbw_xo_Ss_DZaPWpC8upLS_gYdMoKMxPQgA/viewform
Directors — Nicki Graham, Amy Malone
Student Director — Megan LeJeune
Stage Manager — Jessica Conatser
Sound — Nino Baker
Crew — Ashley Long, Ben Keating, Kendall McFarlin
Cast — Samantha Griffith, Ryan Olsen, Ellie Tanner, Zoe Burris, Olivia Ray, Grace Stapf, Ian King, Sophie Happ, Rylee Kurth, Megan LeJeune, Reagan Pyatt, Slater Goebel