Hillsboro takes “Actors Audiences and Aspiring Teens” online

HILLSBORO – Theater enthusiasts will have a new way to attend the Hillsboro High spring play – Actors Audiences and Aspiring Teens – this season. The play will be available via streaming service Broadway On Demand. The play will be accessible for 24 hours from 7 p.m. April 3 to 6:39 p.m. April 4. Online tickets are $12.94 and are on sale now. The live performance will be limited to family members of cast only.

Patrons will need to create a free account with Broadway On Demand in order to purchase the video stream.

Director Leah Rose said the year’s production features three one-act pieces – Appropriate Audience Behavior by Ian McWethy; The Monologue Show by Don Zolidis and Most Likely To…also by McWelthy

This year is obviously very different for everyone. In order to have some sort of show where we could have some social distancing on stage, we had to have a reduced number of kids,” she said.

Using one-act pieces allowed not only for social distancing but also for more students to be involved in the production. Rose added, this year she also looked for shows that did not require extensive sets or scene changes. This year’s production has just a few platforms and chairs.

Rose said this year’s play is particularly meaningful to students, as last year’s performance was cancelled just two weeks before curtain call due to COVID-19.

That was hard for me; it was hard for the kids. So this year, the biggest thing is that they get to do this at all.,” she said.

While the show will go on this year, it has not been without its challenges, adjusting where actors stand on stage, and navigating an entire show with the cast wearing masks.

It is harder to hear them, so we do have microphones this year, which we don’t normally have for the spring show. I am very grateful we get to have microphones this year,” said Rose.

With several seniors in the cast, the Most Likely Too… one act is particularly funny and impactful, as the whole cast, with the exception of one junior, are seniors.

The one-act is a teacher – played by the only junior on stage for the act – trying to determine senior superlatives for the yearbook.

They’re getting harassed by the other seniors, who all want certain superlatives. It’s fun because it is all about seniors, and these are our seniors. It was a nice thing to get to do with that particular group,” said Rose.

Rose added, there have been students who have taken ownership of this year’s production – Callie Bernhardt, Kaya Isaac and Bryce Rader. The three students are cast liaisons, gathering feedback from students and relaying information to Rose.

Callie and Kyla, they’ve really stepped up with communication and just the way they carry themselves at rehearsal has been leadership. Bryce is one of the strongest actors I’ve ever directed. The way he’s stepped into leadership is more leading warm up games at the beginning of rehearsals,” said Rose.

With students taking the lead, and streaming service available for the show, Rose said “I really hope people will take advantage of the opportunity. I watched the devastation the kids felt last year not being able to perform their shows. This year, it can actually reach a wider audience.

These kids have worked very hard and navigated and adapted to changes and restrictions better, I think, than some adults. This is something I want for them, for people to watch it,” she said.

Rose said residents can support he program and students from the comfort of their living room, anywhere in the world.

It’s been a struggle for the arts in particular, because there’s not much you can do when you can’t gather people for performing arts,” but Rose had hope the theater would endure, with clever adaptations and adjustments, “By watching this show, you’re being supportive of the arts as a whole.”

CAST: Rylie Driggers, Paige Gehring, Kyla Isaac, Tylee Miller, Ainsley Duell, Bryce Rader, D’myia Cox, Taryah Miller, Dani Klein, Annaliese Jorgenson, Alana Suderman, Sarah Paulus, Henry Hein, Tanner Plett, Trudy Hein, Malorie Hein, Paul Glanzer, Grace Hein, Callie Bernhardt and Isabelle Whorton.

CREW: Cheyenne Funk, Karley Loewen, Emersyn Funk, Ella Suderman, Adrian Unruh, Makenna Reed and Angus Duell.