Millennium H.S. to perform killer comedy
WHAT: Arsenic and Old Lace
WHEN: 7 p.m. today through Thursday
WHERE: Millennium High School,
14802 W. Wigwam Blvd., Goodyear
Millennium High School is set to perform the murderous comedy Arsenic and Old Lace today through Thursday.
The play is about two elderly aunts who begin murdering lonely old men with poison, and a drama critic who tries to handle his crazy family.
Buddy Walter, the play’s director, said he chose to do the play because of the students who participate in drama.
“Arsenic and Lace is just a wonderful piece of theater. It’s one of my favorite pieces of theater, and sometimes you just wait for the right group of students. You wait for the right group of kids who you know will embrace it and bring it to life,” Walter said.
Walter is originally from New York. Although he has only been with Millennium for four years, he has taught drama for about 25 years.
He said he hopes his passion for theater will “transmit” to his students.
“There is a magic of live theater, there is a magic of being in the theater. People go home and turn on the TV … and a lot of people haven’t had any experience with live theater. If they haven’t, this is a great play to do it with because it’s fun,” he said.
As an educator, one of his favorite parts about working on a play is watching his students learn disciplines they can use later in life, he said.
He also said he enjoys watching his students come together and work as a team.
“Seeing them accept each other and bond and work with each other and trust each other almost from the start, which is really nice” he said.
The community aspect of being involved in drama is especially important to 18-year-old Derek Stull, who transferred to Millennium as a senior.
“It was really great. They kind of just welcomed me in as family as soon as I got here, so I was really blessed,” he said.
Stull plays the part of the evil nephew Jonathan Brewster, who is a deranged killer.
Playing such an evil character has been both the most fun and most difficult part about nailing down the character, Stull said.
He also urged the community to go watch the play for the sake of entertainment.
“This show is going to amaze you; it’s going to surprise you. It’s just a great show, fun, clean humor that the whole family can enjoy,” he said.
Alex Walter, Walter’s son, who is a 16-year-old sophomore, said people should watch the play because of the way theater teaches both the actors and audience empathy.
“Theater gives us the chance to look at lives and people and ideas outside of what we normally see, and that gives us empathy,” Alex said. “When a child has the chance to see things through an adult’s eye and vice versa, then both the child and the adults have benefited exponentially.”
Alex plays the charming lead of Mortimer Brewster. The only, so-called, sane nephew, who is a play critic. When he discovers his aunts’ murderous endeavors, he tries to solve the problem, almost losing his own sanity in the process.
“His progression is funny because he almost becomes his fear as he tries to square everything away,” Alex said.
Katarina Junio, the 16-year-old junior who plays one of the murderous aunts, Abby Brewster, said her character is “fun” and the audience will appreciate her.
“It’s really fun. We give off the perception we’re really nice, but we have this other side to us,” she said about her role and the role of the other crazy aunt.
Shaelee Riding, 16-year-old junior playing Elaine, Mortimer’s fiancée, said live acting is an “adventure” for her.
Working as a team with her fellow actors is her favorite part, Shaelee said.
The play will run at 7 p.m. today through Thursday at 14802 W. Wigwam Blvd., Goodyear. Tickets cost $5 at the door. Proceeds for the show will go toward the production of Millennium’s spring play, which Walter said he hopes will be Beauty and the Beast.
Charity Yodis can be reached by email at email@example.com.