The comedy “Check, Please,” by Jonathan Rand, will generate laughs aplenty when a series of blind dates gone wrong unfolds onstage. Sitting at separate tables, the main guy and girl meet up with a range of eccentrics, from a kleptomaniac to a hypochondriac and a mime.
Solon High School senior Jessica Hrich said she and co-director Isabella Rothenfeld chose “Check, Please” for the stage after looking at many comedy scripts. The Rand play provides roles for several first-time actors and those who have not yet had a speaking part, she said. Nineteen students are in the cast.
“We wanted to have a show that gave people an opportunity to grow,” said Jessica, who’s involved in stage management for drama club productions.“It’s cool to see them come out of their shells and grow as an actor.”
“Check, Please” is one of four short plays being presented by the Solon High School Drama Club in An Evening of One-Acts at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 and 14 in the auditorium.
On Feb. 13, the play follows Solon Music Parents’ 40th annual pasta dinner and silent auction from 5-7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. The silent auction includes donations from local businesses to support the district’s music program.
“It’s a fabulous opportunity to enjoy the arts,” said drama club adviser Kristina J. Ferencie. “From the pasta dinner, silent auction and music by jazz bands from the middle school and high school, to the one-act shows in the auditorium, the entertainment continues all evening.”
Aside from the entertainment, An Evening of One-Acts raises money for college scholarships for graduating seniors. Drama club offers $500 scholarships in three categories: the Bob Keller Memorial, Theater Arts and Drama Club Award of Distinction. Scholarships have totaled approximately $33,000 since 2004.
Like the one-acts, the pasta dinner is a fundraiser. The nonprofit Solon Music Parents organization supports all of the district’s music programs in grades five to 12.
“The funds raised will benefit all music groups,” said Jody Halley, president of Solon Music Parents. Proceeds will help with band uniforms, instrument repairs, music stands and other needs.
“The pasta dinner is the longest running event that Solon Music Parents coordinates,” Ms. Halley said. The event has changed over the years and now includes a silent auction. Dinner costs $10 and can also be purchased for takeout. Tickets are available at www.solonmusicparents.org.
The one-act plays, which run approximately 30 minutes each, spotlight student achievement from direction to cast selection, production and performance.
“Directing a one-act is a great opportunity for leadership and to see things from the other side of the stage,” Ms. Ferencie said. The short plays also provide opportunities for underclassmen to get their feet wet in acting or stage management.
Ms. Ferencie emphasized the student responsibility in directing and designing the one-act plays. The students – all seniors and veteran drama club members – find their own scripts, juggle cast schedules and do their own sets, lighting and props.
“It’s fun to see all sides of things,” from acting to stage managing and directing, said Giovanni Castiglione, who shared the role of the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” last spring. He said he enjoys watching new actors on stage make their own choices, grow and become independent.
Giovanni and Chatura Tamirisakandala co-direct “An Absolutely True Story (As Told by a Bunch of Lying Liars)” by Ian McWethy.
“In the play, a mom and dad find a vase broken and ask their kids and their friends what happened,” said Chatura, who’s involved in stage management. “Each one has a different flashback. I thought the play was so funny and out of the box.”
Another comedy, “Cut,” written by Ed Monk and directed by SHS stage actors Laura Martel and Julia Polster, offers plenty of hilarious moments.
It’s “a play within a play within a play,” Laura explained, and it gets complicated.
“No one in the show knows what’s going on,” added Julia. “The characters can’t figure out if they are actors or directors.” With all the confusion among those onstage, Julia calls “Cut” a “smart comedy” that will keep the audience’s full attention.
Turning more serious, “I Don’t Want to Talk About It,” by Bradley Hayward, presents a series of scenes spotlighting the challenges and difficulties of teenage life.
The play is a “dramedy,” said directors Joelle Fisher and Madison Bolden.
“It’s about sad material, but not always presented in a somber way,” explained Madison, who serves as speech and debate president. “It bridges the gap between comedy and drama.”
“It’s very realistic and relatable,” added Joelle, who shared the role of “Belle” in “Beauty and the Beast” and serves as dance captain for Music in Motion.
Like several of the other one-act directors, Joelle is an officer of drama club, serving as secretary. Giovanni is president; Jessica, vice president; Isabella, treasurer; and Julia, historian.
Tickets for An Evening of One-Acts cost $6 and are available at the door.