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“Play On!” proves that in the world of theater, occasionally nothing goes as planned. Everything you prepare and rehearse can fly out the window and chaos replaces order.
It appears this is an accurate message because the Olions Thespian Club, the Los Alamos High School drama club, experienced an obstacle during the Saturday performance of “Play On!”
One member of the cast, because of a prior commitment, was not able to appear during the first act. As a result, the ticket sales were put on hold, and a question, hung in the air; would the show go on?
Well, unlike the characters in “Play On!” the Olions know how to effectively handle a set back. An understudy, Chip Carter, filled the role of the actor Saul Watson. And for only having 45-minutes to prepare for the role, he did a really good job. The show did in fact go on without a hitch.
“Play On!” gives the audience a look of what goes on before the curtain goes up on opening night.
It’s not a pretty picture, but it sure is funny.
In the play, a local theater company is preparing for its production of “A Murder Most Foul.” It’s not going smoothly. The director is getting angry, the playwright is meddling and the actors are forgetting their lines.
A few members of the high school drama club told me earlier that the Olions are known for their comedies, and after watching, “Play On!” I can see why.
The Olions know how to be funny without being too over the top. Plus, no one hogs the spotlight. They work as a team, and allow everyone to shine in their own individual talents.
Craig Mortenson as Henry Benish, one of the actors, is brilliant. He is an expert at exaggerating a fake British accent and wiggling his eyebrows in an inquisitive and skeptical manner. He does not even need to speak to generate laughs. For instance, in one scene, Mortenson hysterically peers wonderingly into a Styrofoam cup, as if to question the quality of its coffee.
Amanda Jalbert, donning some crazy bold-printed dresses with matching purses, is wonderful as Phyllis Montague, the playwright. She is funny as she continuously hounds the cast and even nails the old-lady slouch as she nudges into everyone’s way.
Elizabeth “Ed” Dombeck is another stand-out as Louise Peary, the maintenance worker who is a bit sarcastic. She brings a lot of flair to her role.
One great scene is when she peeks out of doorways, window frames and above the set, trying to catch two actors smooching.
The Olions have started the school year on a very fun and comical note. Join in on the fun and see “Play On!”
The show will be held again at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Duane Smith Auditorium. General admission is $10 and $5 for students and seniors.