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By Carissa Sitki
Jersey Community High School’s (JCHS) theatre department is hard at work preparing for their fall play, titled, “The Plot, Like Gravy, Thickens.”
The show will open on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m., followed by another show on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m., with the final showing taking place on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 2 p.m. Additionally, there will be a show on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m., where the understudies will get a chance to perform and this show is also open to the public.
Since the beginning of the school year, the students have been hard at work with auditions, rehearsals, set-building, behind the scenes work, and everything else that goes along with show-prep.
“These kids work so hard,” said JCHS Theatre Director Brett Beauchamp. “They do everything from the acting to the lighting and sound to the set building and everything in between– this really is a student-led production with a few adults sprinkled in to oversee everything.”
The play is of the “comedy murder mystery” variety and while there is a murder that takes place, Beauchamp said the story is “light-hearted.” The character that gets murdered, Edward Worthington III, is more of a scoundrel, and according to Beauchamp, he won’t be missed by the audience.
“The character that gets murdered is not the most-likable guy,” he said, “and the lights go down when the murder takes place, so there isn’t anything graphic about it. It’s pretty G-rated.”
The cast will consist of 16 on-stage actors and a few understudies. Beauchamp said two eighth grade students also made the main cast.
“The cast is made up of students from eighth grade up to seniors,” he said. “There are a few understudies who are in eighth grade as well.”
Last year, JCHS’s production was of “Arsenic and Old Lace” and while Beauchamp said he was very thankful to be able to have the play, there were still some COVID-19-related restrictions in place that made things tougher to coordinate.
“Last year, the students had to wear face shields on stage, which definitely made things more difficult,” said Beauchamp. “I’m happy to be returning to normal this year. Not just with the theatre, but with everything. The atmosphere has improved so much and the students are happier.”
The production is a team effort, according to Beauchamp, who commended the woodshop class for quickly building the set and the theatre department crew for painting. Additionally, the Photoshop class designed the show’s programs.
Beauchamp said this is the first time this play has been done at JCHS in about 10 years and encourages everyone to come out and enjoy it. He also noted that at the end the audience will be able to ask the cast members questions to figure out who the killer is.
“The plot is funny and doesn’t take itself too seriously,” he said. “And there’s nothing obvious about who the killer is. All of the characters have a motive, that’s what I like about this plot.”
Tickets are on sale now. To purchase, call the high school at 618-498-5521 and ask for Diane Rogers.