Maybe “Heaven Can Wait,” but you won’t want to wait to catch Battle Mountain’s fall play.
“Heaven Can Wait” is a comedy and not the fall madrigal dinner Battle Mountain has staged the past few years because, frankly, student directors Nicole Affleck and Woody Brook thought the world needed a few laughs.
“We haven’t done a straight comedy since my freshman year,” said Brook. Both he and Affleck are seniors.
Brook comes by his performing chops honestly. His mom performs and did “Heaven Can Wait” when she was in high school. She suggested it, Affleck and Brook read it and that was it.
“I fell in love with the script the moment I read it,” Brook said.
Students leading students can create its challenging moments, but they’ve had none ... so far. Everyone on the cast and crew is goal-oriented and focused on opening night, which is Wednesday night. They say they haven’t had to box anyone’s ears or deal with, “You’re-Not-The-Boss-Of-Me!”
“At least not yet,” Affleck smiled.
Double the fun
They’re both in student council and are officers in Battle Mountain High School service clubs, so they’re used to being in charge.
Sheresa Wilbanks is Battle Mountain’s music program director and empowerer of young people. While she occasionally provides some input, she almost always leaves it to Affleck and Brook, who have no shortage of good ideas of their own.
Like the idea to run two casts during the play’s four-day run.
One cast goes Wednesday and Friday, and the other goes Thursday and Saturday.
“It gives students more opportunity,” Affleck said.
There was never any doubt about going with a double cast, they said. It’s good for people to be on stage, and a double cast is one way to do as much good as possible.
“That was part of the decision to go with a double cast,” Brook said. “I love being on stage more than anything, and we wanted other people to love it, too.”
Brook has been in theater since he was 12 years old and has wanted to direct since he first set foot on stage.
“I watched Bailey Garton when she did it and how well she did, and I wanted to try it,” Brook said.
They’re having a great time, Brook said, but still ...
“It gets a little stressful when I’m acting and directing,” he said.
About ‘Heaven Can Wait’
“Heaven Can Wait” has its roots in the high-gloss screwball comedies of the 1940s, yet Battle Mountain’s version charms and beguiles with its seamless production.
You might remember the 1978 movie “Heaven Can Wait,” starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie.
Battle Mountain’s “Heaven Can Wait” chronicles the adventures of boxing champion Joe Pendleton (Bret Pilkington). Pendleton, The Flying Fighter, is played by Pilkington for all four performances. It’s his first lead role in a Battle Mountain High School production and he’s hitting it out of the park.
An over-eager rookie escort angel plucks him from this life just prior to a plane crash, 60 years before his time. The escort angel (Anabel Johnson) hauls him to heaven against his will.
When archangel Mr. Jordan (Schuyler Simonton and Caitlyn Wallace) discover the error, Jordan offers to return Joe to his body, only to find that it has been cremated.
A few angels attempt to correct their mistake by putting Joe into different, unlikely bodies as he finds love, scandal and surprises along the way.
On the verge of fighting for the title, Joe demands a fit body rather than the about-to-be-murdered industrialist Farnsworth he has been offered, but he reconsiders when he sees environmentalist Betty Logan (Lilli Moore and Heddie Hall) in Farnsworth’s house. Assuming Farnsworth’s body while keeping his sweet self, Joe hires his beloved trainer Max (Alex Ramirez and T.J. Neilson).
Farnsworth’s homicidal wife (Rachel Weiss and Maggie Shaffer) and secretary (Liam Scott and Woody Brook) are still determined to succeed in their plan to kill him.
If You Go
- What: Heaven Can Wait, Battle Mountain High School’s fall play.
- When: 7 p.m., today through Saturday.
- Where: Battle Mountain High School Auditorium, Edwards.
- Cost: $6.
- More information: This is a student-directed production, led by Nicole Affleck and Woody Brook.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.