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A theatre company's nightmare

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By Kirsten Laskey

It all starts smoothly enough. A playwright gives a local theatre company her script free of charge to perform, but then all hell breaks loose.

A new script is drafted every day and the cast is made up of mediocre actors.

The Olions Thespian Club, the Los Alamos High School drama club, will present the disasters surrounding the fictional play titled, “A Murder Most Foul,” in their upcoming comedy, “Play On!”

The play is the first show of the 2008-2009 school year. They selected “Play On!” to kick off the school year because “basically we thought it was funny,” said Olions member and senior Anna Hodgson. “It is a lot more light-hearted than last year’s show (“Steel Magnolias”).”

“We chose ‘Play On’ because we knew we could do a comedy ... Olions has always been known to pull off comedy,” added Olions member and senior Ellen Kress.

Nina Saunders, Olions sponsor and theater director, said, “I think comedy is more accessible to younger students. It plays to their natural instincts more.”

Several students said they could relate to the characters in the play because the very trials experienced in the play actually occurred during Olions’ rehearsals.

Despite any difficulties, Saunders said the play is a good one for students. “It’s a comedy. It’s very funny,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. The kids really enjoy doing it.”

“It’s fun to play a ridiculously bad actor,” Craig Mortesen said.

Saunders added they are “learning to just diversify their acting technique within a single show.”

The year is not only starting off on a funny note, it is beginning on a strong one. “It’s been a great year,” Saunders said. She added after last year, which was her first year at LAHS, she is taking a more un-stressed approach to this show.

Having a strong cast is also a plus. Saunders said because the cast is small – there are only 10 actors – they are easier to manage.

Besides putting on the play, Saunders is exposing her students to stage design; in fact, a student helped her create the set designs for “Play On!”

The Olions are also planning to attend several competitions this year, including one in November and an international competition in February.

The show will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 10, 11 and Oct. 16-18 at Duane Smith Auditorium. There will be a matinee at 2 p.m. Oct. 12. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.