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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Education

With ‘Play On!” performances, Westminster High drama students invite audiences to watch everything go wrong

Westminster High School’s fall production, “Play On!” is a show in which everything is meant to go terribly, hilariously wrong.

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The show is set up as a tech rehearsal in the first act, the final dress rehearsal in the second act, and the third act is a performance of the show-within-a-show, “A Murder Most Foul.”

Director Melissa Purdy said after seeing what goes wrong in the first two acts, the audience will have a good idea of how the third act is doomed to be a comic disaster.

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“You feel for them, because they do perform it well enough in places in the first and second acts,” Purdy said. “You know it’s not their fault; it’s not like they’re bad actors.”

The show includes 10 student actors, six of whom play actors as well as roles of director, stage manager, techie, and a playwright that keeps changing the script.

Purdy said the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the number of students who participate in Westminster High’s theater program but added that students had a high level of interest in “Play On!”

“Half the kids who did theater last year were seniors,” Purdy said, “so I wanted to pick a slightly smaller show knowing that I didn’t have any clue what the numbers were going to be like in the fall. I wanted to pick one that was in that eight to 15 range because I knew I could comfortably cast it, and I also wanted to give my seniors this year a good challenge.”

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The biggest challenge in “Play On!” is for the actors to make the right mistake in the right act because all acts have similar dialogue. Purdy said students rose to the challenge by going off book – not needing the script – early.

Purdy said it is amazing to see the growth in student actors, particularly those who participate in theater all four years of high school.

She also liked the creative challenge the show gave her.

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“It is fun for anybody who comes,” Purdy said of “Play On!”

“Come prepared to enjoy some wonderful performances.”

“Play On! will be performed at 7 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Westminster High’s auditorium. Tickets are available for $8 online or at the door.


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