Olentangy Valley News

Orange aims for short, sweet with theatrical septet

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
Student director Gerri Shively (left), 16, rehearses lines with Rike Pietsch, 16, during rehearsal for "Maniac Manor" on Monday, Jan. 21. The short play is part of Orange High School's "Senior One-Acts," featuring seven student-directed plays, taking the stage Feb. 1-3 at the school.
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Four years of theater will come full circle for Orange High School seniors next week.

Students will direct short plays in a production called Senior One-Acts, with three performances set for 7 p.m. Feb. 1-2 and 2 p.m. Feb. 3 at Orange High School, 2840 E. Orange Road in Lewis Center.

They're the first Orange High School seniors to have spent four years in the school's theater program since it began at the start of the 2009-10 school year.

The school opened in fall 2008 without a theater department.

"They've really grown up since they started here as freshmen," theater director Cathy Swain-Abrams said. "Now they're on the other end of t hings as directors and you can see that we've learned so much since the beginning."

Senior One-Acts features seven short plays.

Check Please: Take Two, directed by Abby Lewis and Alex Herning, tells the story of a young couple after a difficult break-up. They find themselves going on blind dates as they try to move on.

But the dates go hilariously wrong when they're matched up with wacky characters, including a psychic, a pirate and a polygamist.

"It's a really funny show and the characters are extreme," Lewis said.

Twitch, directed by Lamine Djafi, kicks off when a couple meets their new neighbors, who just moved in next door.

But between their odd, twitchy movements and bizarre accents, it's clear they're not your average neighbors.

"It's funny to watch how weird the neighbors are," Djafi said.

Maniac Manor, directed by Gerri Shively and Lexi Petrella, is a short murder-mystery that starts when the owner of an old mansion is knocked off.

A variety of locals set out to discover the identity of the killer. That's when the story takes some hilarious twists and turns.

"By the end, it seems like everyone could have done it -- even the goldfish," said Shively.

How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying, directed by Katherine Spezzano and Leanna Molnar, is a comedy about a school assembly that is hijacked by government agents.

The agents have a long list of off-the-wall suggestions to help teens breeze through to graduation day.

The remaining three plays include:

* Five Pound Sack, directed by Anna Berlekamp and Amanda Blankenship, a comedy about high school students who must pretend a sack of flour is their baby as part of a lesson on good parenting.

* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, directed by Laurel Ellis, an abbreviated take on the classic fantasy adventure story.

* Alice, directed by Julia Patrone and Victoria Toomajian, a shortened version of the classic story Alice in Wonderland.

The Feb. 1 production features Check Please: Take Two, Maniac Manor, Twitch and How to Succeed in High School Without Even Trying; plays featured Feb. 2 are Five Pound Sack, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Alice; and the Sunday matinee will feature all seven short plays.

Tickets for Feb. 1 or 2 are $5 for adults, $3 for students. A combo ticket for both shows is $8 for adults, $5 for students. Tickets for the extended matinee also are $8 for adults, $5 for students.

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