MORRIS – As the end of the school year winds down, many seniors are gearing up for the next chapter of their life – planning for graduation, picking a college, or looking for work.
At Morris Community High School, some seniors are preparing for their final hurrah on the auditorium stage during this year’s senior play, which was a play written and will be performed by graduating seniors.
“The seniors who wrote the play are good friends and had a lot of fun writing it together. It’s funny, quirky and creative – like them. They really stepped up and worked hard,” said Andrea Gustafson, Morris High School Drama Club sponsor. “We got a much later start this year due to some scheduling conflicts, and I was truly doubtful we could get a show together. But, they amazed me, got inspired and got it done.”
Seniors Kirsten Bridgemen, Lukas Terhall and Kyle Monk wrote this year’s play, “Channel 2014” – a parody that brings TV shows to the stage with a Morris twist to them.
Bridgemen and Terhall began writing the play before they invited Monk to join them.
“We are all best friends,” Monk said. “I’m not in drama club, but I thought it would be fun to do. Everyone has enjoyed it, and they are great people.”
The students soon discovered that writing a play is much different than performing in one.
“I thought writing the play would be easy,” Terhall said. “Ideas were flying everywhere, and some were not so good.”
Bridgemen agreed that writing the play was harder than she thought it would be.
The trio decided together to take the TV idea to the big stage after voting down a talent show parody because it was too broad a subject with too many ideas.
Terhall and Bridgemen have performed on stage during their four years at the high school, but said writing a play was much different.
“I’m more happy with it now than when I was writing it,” Terhall said. “I was worried it wouldn’t be funny, but seeing them on stage I know we made the right decision.”
They split the writing into two or three scenes each, and some they ended up working on together, while others they did on their own.
“I’m surprised how equal the work turned out,” Terhall said.
After the trio wrote the play, they held open auditions for anyone in the senior class to participate and assigned the parts to everyone who wanted to be involved.
“Some parts you knew were good for one person,” Monk said. “So we gave it to them.”
Gustafson said the seniors in the show are a mix of students who have spent a lot of time on the Morris stage, some who have been backstage but are moving in front of the curtain, and some who have never been involved in a play.
“For me, it’s a gift to see my drama students do something on their own and see their growth over four years,” she said. “And I’m always amazed at the rookies who get up there and act for the first time. I usually find myself wondering where they’ve been for four years. And many will tell me after the experience they wish they’d done fall play or speech. It’s just a great event.”
The TV shows chosen are ones most people will recognize, they said, and it covers a broad spectrum of shows.
“It’s a good way to send the seniors off,” Bridgemen said. “It’s quality entertainment, and people aren’t going to want to miss the inside jokes.”
Bridgemen said the play is very emotional for her, just like when she took the stage last fall for her last high school fall play.
“It’s all bittersweet,” she said. “I’m happy to be leaving, but I’ve grown up the last four years with these people. It’s going to be hard not seeing them every day.”
IF YOU GO
What: “Channel 2014” senior play
When: 7 p.m.Tuesday
Where: Morris Community High School Auditorium
Who: Open to the public
Cost: Donation to the Morris Community High School Drama Club