2015, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Westerville South play lets small cast shine


Westerville South High School is bringing some southern flair to Ohio with its fall show, The Miss Firecracker Contest.
Performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30 and 31, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, in the auditorium of the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.
Tickets cost $6, but the performances have limited seating so advance reservations are suggested.
Theater Director Matt Wolfe said he selected The Miss Firecracker Contest because it features challenging female characters, exposes students to a lesser-known show and has an intimate six-person cast.
“(The playwright) Beth Henley writes challenging literature for high-schoolers and I wanted to introduce her to the students,” he said. “It’s a play where the comedy isn’t slapstick but rather comes from the relationship between the characters.”
Wolfe said unique for this show, there will be three rows of audience members on stage.
“It’s part of our pursuit to engage the audience and let them experience the show from three different angles,” Wolfe said.
Junior Julia Grant, who plays Elain, said this way, it’s easier to make the audience laugh as well as notice characters’ little eye rolls.
The show is about Carnelle Scott, who wants to be Miss Firecracker, just like her cousin Elain was. When Elain comes back to town, she brings her eccentric brother, Delmount, with her and Carnelle’s seamstress, Popeye, falls madly in love with him. Together they face their unhappy pasts and turn toward a better future.
Senior Elise Wesley, who plays Popeye, said she liked working with such a small cast.
“It’s better than being in, like, a huge musical because we’ve grown closer with each other. Sometimes in bigger productions, cliques form but in this small of a group, cliques can’t form,” she said.
Sophomore Caroline Warrick plays Carnelle, a role she learned to appreciate.
“On paper, she looks like such a two-dimensional character because she’s a girl and she wants to win a beauty contest. But when you dig deeper, you see she’s actually looking for acceptance and a place to belong,” she said.
The cast started working on the show in late September and Warrick said it took a lot of self-motivation to memorize the lines.
“We couldn’t just learn the lines during our two-hour rehearsals. We really had to learn them on our own time,” she said.
Students also had to master Southern accents, but they can reuse them later this year when South puts on To Kill a Mockingbird and Big Fish.

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