Thespian club knocks ‘em dead

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The audience gets to participate in the club’s newest show

By Kirsten Laskey

A group of people show up at a comedy club, eager to compete in a contest and win some cash at the game’s conclusion. The only problem is the club owner winds up dead. So who did the foul deed? In the Los Alamos High School Olions Thespian Club’s newest show, “Knock Em’ Dead,” you get to decide.

The audience plays a vital role in this play by Tom Oldendick. They can ask questions of the actors and their decision about who is the murderer will determine how the play ends.

Having the audience be a part of the play is a real treat, said director and Los Alamos High School student Amanda Jalbert.

“Just because you get to interrogate and that is so much fun,” Jalbert said. “Be prepared, however, the answers could be a little wacky, she warned.

“It’s a pretty fun play,” stage manager Erica Baughman added. “It should be really fun.”

The student actors embraced the play from the very beginning.

Jalbert said, “When I first read it, it was so

funny. Everything seemed hilarious and fresh.”

Others followed suit. In fact, Jalbert said to prepare for the show, the cast would go out to lunch and stay in character throughout the entire meal.

This light-hearted atmosphere is reflected in all other areas surrounding the production. During rehearsal Thursday night, students laughed and joked around. They threw high-fives to each other and commended each other’s abilities.

Jalbert mentioned there are many new faces in production and she admired them all.

“I love them,” she exclaimed. “There are so many new ones this year.”

One of the newcomers, Monica Poston, said, “It’s my first Olions production. I love working with everyone here.”

“It’s fun,” Bob Collon agreed.

Josh Nesmith said he enjoyed, “how close everyone here is. It’s like one big family.”

Miranda Honndell added even those who are not cast in a leading role still feel like a member of this thespian family and have enjoyed the experience.

It is an experience that the students have been given control over.

With an eight-month-old newborn, Olions sponsor Nina Saunders has taken more of a supervisor position for this particular production.

She said she is pleased with what her students have shown.

“I’m really proud of the responsibilities the students have been putting on,” she said. “It really shows their maturity and their competence and their ability to do theater.”

Having that much power, however, can be a little scary.

Jalbert described being the director as similar to having an aunt who you really love but can’t stand to visit.

“It’s a load of fun but a load of trouble,” she said.

Jalbert added she learned to be more demanding with memorizing lines but as an actor she was also taught to take direction easier.

“Knock Em’ Dead” is one of many projects the Olions are undertaking this school year.

Earlier, they held an improv night and hope to eventually form an improvisational group.

Additionally, Saunders said she is working on a drama to take to festivals. Through this, she hopes to build the Olions’ notoriety and spread awareness about what they can do.

“Knock Em’ Dead” opened Friday at Duane Smith Auditorium. The show will continue at

2 p.m. today¸ 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5, 7 p.m. Nov. 6 and

7 p.m. Nov. 7.

Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $5 for students.