LINDSBORG — The last time Lisa Christopher directed "Rest Assured," most of this year’s cast had yet to finish kindergarten. The comedic play is being produced once again 12 years later at Smoky Valley High School March 15-17.
Christopher said "Rest Assured" is a fun show that is not performed by schools very often.
"Pretty much you see the shows that are normal for high schools to do," Christopher said. "I just like to do something that is fun and clean."
Written by Donald Payton,"Rest Assured" tells the story of Mr. Morlock, whose greed has him focused on money and he is dismissive of his daughter's wish to marry a poor young man. When the boy's father, Luigi Lanconi, confronts Morlock, a fight ensues. Lanconi then suffers a heart attack and dies, but that doesn't mean Morlock gets his way.
"It's kind of along the lines of 'A Christmas Carol,'" said Trace Scott, who plays the character of Luigi Lanconi. "Luigi comes back to haunt him until he gives his permission for the wedding, but then somewhere along the way, Mr. Morlock also dies."
Having characters on stage who are both dead and alive, visible to some and invisible to others, can be tricky for the actors.
"We've had some difficulties with the alive people not looking right at the dead people," said Veronika Huse, who plays Lanconi's wife, Martha. "I'm dead the whole time, so it's easy for me."
Christopher noted that SVHS sophomore Jacob Reed, who played the role of Benjamin in the Broadway RFD production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," has more than 300 lines to memorize as Mr. Morlock.
"It's funny and it's very entertaining," Christopher said.
More than making audiences laugh, Christopher hopes they — and her cast — will latch on to the deeper message of the show.
"Hopefully they're going to take away from it don't put other things ahead of what's really important in life," Christopher said. "We get so busy in doing so many things that our faith, family and others get lost in the mix."
"Rest Assured" features a cast of 16, some of whom are experienced actors and some who are taking on their very first role.
"When we have auditions, I look for that little bit of spark," Christopher said. "A lot of times, kids are pliable. They take directing well. You tell them to try it different and they do."
"I just always sign up to be in the plays here because I love being a part of this," Scott said.
Having fun while working as a team to create a show is part of the appeal of acting, Huse added.
"It's kind of the same as when you watch a movie — you get to remove yourself from real life and this fantasy world, you're in it and you get to be someone else for a little while," Huse said.
As they rehearse, the students learn skills including time management, appreciation for others and a good work ethic, Christopher noted.
"Everybody works together pretty well, so it makes for a happier environment," Christopher said.
"Rest Assured" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 15-17 in the A.J. Steinberg Auditorium at Smoky Valley High School, 1 Viking Boulevard in Lindsborg. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students. For more information, call 785-227-2909.
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