Deciding on a spring production can be a challenge for any high school theatre department. Meadowbrook drama teacher Lauren White, however, solved that problem rather neatly: for their spring 2009 production, the Meadowbrook Monarch Players will be performing three one-act plays as part of the Meadowbrook Theatre Festival.
“This is my first year, and I’m finding that I have so many different kinds of talent,” says White. “I wanted to find pieces that highlighted each individual’s talent, and see what each student would respond to.”
The three plays include David Campton’s “Cagebirds” and “Us and Them” and Linda J. Barnes’ “Wings.” In addition to the plays, a musical showcase will feature songs from Hairspray, The Wiz, and Dreamgirls.
“These plays are right up our alley,” White says. “The ensemble work is the key. All of the pieces really highlight the group; there’s no solo success or star.”
White sums up each of the plays in a sentence: “‘Cagebirds’ is about how women in particular can stay in their own cages, while ‘Us and Them’ is about the irrational fears that cause us to build walls around each other.” Meadowbrook drama club president Jamar Jones explains of “Wings,” “It highlights the ideas of how youth struggle to keep their dreams alive in society.”
The cast and crew of the Theatre Festival is nothing but optimistic about the performance. “They’re really intense,” White says. “It’s just the way an ensemble piece has to be to work.” Some students, she says, are so devoted to the production that they want to rehearse every night, “but we have to be mindful that we don’t overexert ourselves.”
Jones keeps his opinion concise: “It’s going to be fantastic.”
For Jones and many of his fellow performers, these productions will be bittersweet, as the cast is largely made up of graduating seniors. “It’s a good final production, though,” Jones reflects. “It’s a good way to wrap things up.”
Cast members of “Cagebirds” include Justine Ryan, Staci Londy, Kasey Ingram, Dahnyce Pitt, Maddie Jackson, Wad Khalafalla, Alicia Austin, and Miranda Moriconi; “Us and Them,” Brittany Banks, Bryan Campbell, Ben Garrison, Jamar Jones, Tyvonte Loney, Miranda Moriconi, Justine Ryan, Jarius Wilson, Nick Winston, Regan Wolfrey, and Lindsey Woods; and “Wings,” Jamar Jones, Staci Londy, Robert Pettis, Jarius Wilson, Regan Wolfrey, Lindsey Woods, Kristina Young, Kasey Ingram, Maddie Jackson, Dahnyce Pitt, and Justine Ryan.
The Meadowbrook Theatre Festival begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for adults and seniors, and $1 for children under 12, and can be purchased by calling 743-3675, ext. 209, or at the door.