Will Tempest Frost and Hale Storm's dastardly deeds be uncovered? Will Betty Brown make it out of the television set? For the answers to these and other questions come tonight to the opening performance of Westminster High School's fall production, "Soft Soap."
The play, written by David Rogers, spoofs daytime TV dTC melodramas. The main character, Betty Brown, played by 17-year-old senior Brigitta Kral, is such a soap opera fanatic that she transfers herself from her university student lounge into the wacky television world of "Yesterday's Tomorrows."
"I like it 'cause I'm always teasing my sisters about soap operas," said Lori Yanke, 15, a sophomore who plays Mrs. Flood, one of the heroines of the soap opera.
The play offers a show within a show. The audience not only watches the action on a television set, but watches Betty and the other students watch the soap opera.
"Soft Soap" features more than 30 characters, so there is always action.
"I wanted a play with a lot of characters, so I could give a lot of students opportunity" to act, said drama teacher M. L. Grout.
The students are pitching in with costumes, many of them digging into their own closets to put together their on-stage outfits. Determining what their character would wear has helped some students focus on the personality type and "feel" the character.
"He is always wearing a particular cowboy hat," junior Abraham Samuels, 16, said of his character, attorney Matt Turney. "It's like his security blanket."
Mike Haslam plays Dr. Sonny Skize, the "heartthrob" of the play. The 15-year-old junior doesn't think the good doctor is a sex symbol.
"I don't think he's very sexy, so much as he's confident," Mike said.
There are the wealth, love affairs and characters with amnesia that are famous on soap operas.
"They [the characters] are all really interesting and weird in their own way," said stage manager Cassie Domser.
There is an intriguing twist in which characters disappear in a kidnapping plot masterminded by Hale Storm and Tempest Frost.
"It's my first time playing a villain," said senior James Beirne, 17, who plays Storm. "I think it's more fun [playing a villain] because you can be more dynamic and crazy." He has also been in school productions of "Godspell" and "Macbeth."
Fellow cast member Beth Barker was also in "Godspell" and "Macbeth," in addition to "Up the Down Staircase." She is a 17-year-old senior and president of the Drama Club.
"The cast is a good group of people," she said. "This allows us to be creative and imaginative where some academic classes do not."
James agreed: "I get such an awesome feeling from being on stage."
More important, the audience should enjoy the play, said Mrs. Grout.
"I think a comedy sets a good mood," she said.
The play will begin at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday in the Westminster High School auditorium at 1225 Washington Road. Admission is $3.