2015, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville, westervilleschools

Intimate Westerville South cast is ‘Leaving Iowa’

Wednesday September 9, 2015 7:51 AM

Westerville South High School kicks off its 2015-16 theater season with the family comedy Leaving Iowa.

The show written to be “realistic and relatable” will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20 at the high school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.

The play stars an intimate six-student cast and the show will also be performed at a state conference in March.

For this reason, the show is completely student designed under the guidance of Derrick McPeak, technical director.

The story centers around Don Browning, a writer who returns home and decides to finally take his father’s ashes to his childhood home. But, when Don discovers his childhood home is now a grocery store, he begins traveling across Iowa in search of a proper resting place.

“It’s got a ton of heart but it’s wrapped up in a great comedy,” said South’s theater director Matt Wolfe. “It’s challenging for students because it’s a show where the actors’ chemistry makes a big difference.”

Senior James Hagerman who plays Don Browning, said that it feels very natural to play this particular character.

“There are moments where I can attribute my own experiences to the show,” he said. “It’s a very relatable and realistic play.”

Playing a family wasn’t too difficult for the cast, since they were already such good friends, said assistant director, senior Elise Wesley.

“It’s a show about a family and we are already like a family since we’ve been in the theater program so long,” she said.

The show was cast in the spring so students could work on their lines over the summer and start building the set the week before school started.

In the show, Nic Hayman, senior, plays 12 different characters. He described how that experience has made him a better actor.

“I want all of my characters to be distinct so I’ve had to learn new voices and new mannerisms,” he said. “I want people to think, ‘Wow this is a big cast,’ when it’s actually just the six of us.”

With so many characters to play, Hayman has to do some quick costume changes backstage.

“I have less than a minute to change and I still have my microphone on so I can deliver my lines,” he said.

Wolfe said it’s a good show for the back-to-school season since it’s all about relationships.

“We’re not asking audiences to sit through a three-hour history play,” said Wolfe. “It’s the type of show where at one point, you’ll say ‘Oh, that’s me,’ or ‘My dad does that too.’ “

Tickets are $6, can be purchased at the door and the show will be at Westerville South High School at 303 S. Otterbein Ave.


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