If the audience who attends Grandview Heights High School's fall play has the urge to laugh at the onstage chaos, they should let it all out.

If the audience who attends Grandview Heights High School's fall play has the urge to laugh at the onstage chaos, they should let it all out.

All the kerfuffles are part of the play, cast members assured.

The high school's theater program will present "Play On!," a comedy about a community theater group attempting to put on a play by a local playwright and dealing with the writer's interference and their own issues.

Four Grandview seniors took time out from a recent rehearsal to talk about the production they all called the school's funniest show.

"It's one of those comedies where everything just goes completely wrong for the characters, and it's hilarious," said Ashley Linville, who plays Marla "Smitty" Smith, a supporting player in the show- within-a-show. "It's the seventh show we (the four seniors) have done, and it's the funniest by far."

"There's a lot of physical humor that's a lot of fun to play," said Gretchen Varner, who portrays the character Violet Imbry.

Rehearsals frequently come to a halt "because we're laughing for 10 minutes," she said.

If only the characters in the play could have such a good time.

"Play On!" is spot-on in portraying the true-to-life tensions that can sometimes occur onstage and backstage during a production, Linville said.

"I'm not going to say those kind of things haven't happened with our shows," she said. "Sometimes people can lose patience when someone doesn't know their lines or misses their cue during a rehearsal."

While the rehearsals for "Play On!" have been a barrel of laughs, the show is challenging, said Alexandra Joseph, who plays the director trying to keep the theater company's production from going off the rails.

"You really have to know your lines -- otherwise, the physical comedy doesn't work," she said. "The timing of the dialogue sets up the physical stuff."

The cast had to know their lines earlier than normal to give them time to work on the physical comedy, which provided another challenge for both the actors and the crew, said Chance Thomas, who is serving as the play's stage manager.

"The tricky thing for the crew is hitting all the sound effects at the right time to accompany what's happening on stage," he said.

Thomas said the theater experience at the high school is most different than the fictional one portrayed in "Play On!"

"You get a chance to meet so many different people you wouldn't know otherwise," he said.

The theater program attracts a broader range of students than other school activities and groups, Thomas said.

"We've grown really close as a group over the years," Joseph said.

"It's a little sad to think this is our last year," Linville said.

"Play On!" will be performed at 7 p.m. today through Saturday, Nov. 3-5, in the auditorium at the school, 1587 W. Third Ave. Tickets are $5; tonight's show is $1 for students.

So many students expressed interest in participating in the fall play that a special program, "An Afternoon of Scenes," will be presented at 2 p.m. Nov. 5.

"We had so many people wanting to get involved that we decided to do this special show to include more people," said director April Olt.

"An Afternoon of Scenes" features short original pieces written and performed by Grandview students, she said. The pieces explore the theme, "Inclusion: An Understanding of our Own Implicit Bias."

The matinee is a "pay-what-you-want" performance, with all proceeds benefiting the theater program.

"It's really amazing to have more than 40 students wanting to be part of the fall play," Olt said. "That's a lot more than you usually get for a fall play production.

"What's most gratifying is to see how the theatre program is growing in Grandview," she said. "Forty students is a huge number, especially for a small school like Grandview.

"We're so lucky in Grandview because they let you do anything you want," Linville said. "You can play on the football team or the tennis team and also be part of the school play."

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