‘Just another High School Play’ hits Greenwood High School’s stage

It’s a play, it’s several plays at once and it’s a play about not having any idea what the play will be.

“Just Another High School Play” will run Friday and Saturday at the Greenwood High School auditorium. The play is based on a book written by Bryan Starchman and centers around a director who gives up on their cast. Cast members then put a play together themselves and gather snippets from various other plays in an attempt to salvage the performance.

The play doesn’t have official wardrobe requirements, so the Greenwood High School actors will be dressing as high school kids using their own outfits. There is also some leeway for customizing the script, meaning references aplenty to Greenwood and the high school, said Jennifer Simms, director of the play.

“It’s kind of cool to give kids a fever dream of a show. They can dance, scream, act a fool, and you can only do a show like this in a high school. It takes place in a high school and you wouldn’t go to a community theatre to see a high school play,” Simms said. “I’ve been here since 2013 helping with the program. I’ve been involved in every production, but now I get to pick (the play).”

While not the actual stage manager, senior Olivia Bullock plays one in the production. While she’s been involved in theatre since elementary school, she’s been mostly in serious roles, making this a good change of pace, Bullock said.

“I play an uptight control freak who just tries to get the show to be good. I started preparing by analyzing my lines and I just want to make this funny. I watched other productions to see how other people played my part,” she said. “I think it’s really different from anything Greenwood High School has ever done, it’s a nice refresher. Past plays have been really sad or philosophical, now we can make everyone laugh.”

Emily Loper, also a senior, plays the role of student director, the nonchalant counterpart to Bullock.

“For the stage manager, everything has to go perfectly well, and the student director doesn’t care, like ‘this is fine, maybe we shouldn’t do it.’ She’s really laid back about it and not as serious even though she should be,” Loper said. “I’m not a serious person, generally, so it’s easier for me to be funny.”

The cast of about 30 people has gotten a lot closer through the two months of rehearsals consisting of 10 to 12 hours a week, Loper said.

“It’s been kind of a rollercoaster. We have a new director and it’s very nice working with her. There’s times I miss this or that, but we still have the program,” she said. “We’ve gotten really close. A lot of us have made friends we normally wouldn’t make. It’s good to talk to new people; we get along so well now.”

“Just Another High School Play” will combine segments of “Little Women,” “The Crucible,” “My Fair Lady,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Hamlet.” With the hodgepodge of plays comes several roles for much of the cast.

Novalee Simms, a freshman, plays an extra in each of the dramas.

“I think about the joke that all extras are basically the same,” Simms said. “I change my voice a little for each one. I’ve watched melodramas before and I base it off what I’ve seen and watched before.”

Junior Erin Hoffman is taking on the task of stage manager for the first time after previously shadowing for the role sophomore year.

“Honestly, there’s a lot of planning. I’ll have my script in the beginning, writing preliminary notes, like ‘this will happen in this scene.’ Then I’ll delve into exactly where and when things will go out, who will be taking props out, and build on it more and more with each practice,” Hoffman said. “There are a lot of challenges and a lot of changes that happen.”

Xavier Ellis, a senior, only introduced himself to the world of theatre last year, as he previously focused on dancing. Despite being less familiar with the craft, he’s been able to adapt to the challenges of his role in the play, which includes playing four different characters within the overall role of a struggling high school actor, he said.

“I’m playing four different characters, but the character is still me. We break the fourth wall a bunch. I’m just a kid playing a bunch of people terribly, and sometimes I try to be really passionate about it,” Ellis said. “I think this is one of the funnier plays. When I thought of plays, anything that wasn’t a musical I thought would be sad or gloomy, but this is full of imagery you can play around with. It makes fun of people who take plays too seriously. It’s a way to joke around, have fun and be professional.”


“Just Another High School Play”

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Tickets: https://gchsgin.booktix.com/

Price: $6 students, $8 adults