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MHS Drama Club Leaves Audience Sweetened

MHS Drama Club Leaves Audience Sweetened
Bob Murphy

The cast of the MHS Drama Club's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", complete with Oompa Loompas, takes a bow

“The suspense is horrible…I hope it’ll last.” Such were also the sentiments of the audience at MHS’s Paul M. Luther Auditorium over the weekend as the Drama Club presented its production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Mechanicville Middle and High School students, led by co-directors art teacher Katie Dollard and science teacher Nicole Marshilok, entertained crowds with performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

“It was a great success,” co-director Katie Dollard said. “I watched my drama club students bond and work together in a way that really warmed my heart and made all of the stress and worrying disappear.”

Months of after-school rehearsals, set creation, and set assemble had finally come to fruition.  That’s not to say that there were no challenges to overcome on performance weekend.

“Mrs. Marschilok and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off those last two weeks,” Dollard said. Hanging lights, picking up costumes, and getting the program together and printed were all tasks that needed to be done seemingly at the eleventh hour, not to mention the hair spray for the Oompa Loompas.

All the last minute dottings of i’s and crossings of t’s were vindicated by a trio of successful performances by the MHS Drama Club.  Co-director Dollard points to a pair of achievements that stood out in her mind.

“Our set was amazing,” she said. “I cannot thank Dave Roe and his engineering class enough for building it and making it come together in a very short amount of time.”

Roe and his high school engineering class constructed mechanisms to allow the production to shift from set to set in a more efficient and seamless manner.

Another keystone success of the weekend was the way the students worked as a team to learn their lines, move the set pieces, and operate the lighting and sound systems.

“They made the play what it was: funny, wonderful and enjoyable for us as directors,” Dollard said. “Words can’t really describe my awe and admiration for my students after seeing them in this light. It’s so different from the classroom setting. This was really their chance to shine and boy, were they sparkling.”

The cast delivered strong performances on the Paul M. Luther Auditorium stage. Colin Stangle led the cast as the

Peter Bee (Left), Kyle Pratt (Center), Colin Stangle (Right)

enigmatic chocolate mogul Willy Wonka. Kyle Pratt and Peter Bee proved captivating in their roles as Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe, respectively. The program’s lone musical piece, the selfish and devious “I Want it Now,” was strongly performed by Andrea Timbone as Veruca Salt. Jordan Craft precociously performed the role of Mike Teevee, among many other solid performances.

James Carola’s Augustus Gloop, the sweet-toothed German golden ticket holder, also was a big hit with the audience.

“He stole the show each night,” Dollard said. “I knew he was funny, but I don’t think I realized the effect he would have on the audience.”

With a strong 2011-2012, the Drama Club hopes to expand its activities. A play or musical has not been selected yet and the club is open for suggestions according to Co-director Dollard. They’re also discussing a potential day trip to attend a Broadway show.

At the end of the show’s run, it wasn’t only the audience who was affected.

“A student pulled me aside on Saturday and told me that this has been his greatest experience of his educational career and he can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Dollard, adding that it was a pleasure to work with the faculty and parent volunteers who made the show possible.

“All those people inspire me and I can’t wait to do it all again next year,” she said.

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