See the comedy ‘Every 17 Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy’ in Edwards Friday, Saturday
If You Go ...
What: Battle Mountain Players present “Every 17 Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy.”
Where: Battle Mountain High School Auditorium, Edward
When: 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
Cost: $5 adults, $3 students. Buy tickets at the door.
More information: Produced by BMHS Players and sponsored by Action for Children, Inc.
EDWARDS — You remember how much fun you had when your parents left town and you were on your own? That’s what the Battle Mountain High School Players’ hilarious production is about.
“Every 17 Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy” runs tonight and Saturday.
The one-hour, one-act play goes like this:
A family of exuberant and startled kids are left to fend for themselves by their mother and father, who have taken off to pursue a life of betting on horses at trotter racetracks and playing blackjack in Native American casinos.
It’s funny yet poignant, and it’s a bit of a departure for the BMHS cast, who usually present classic dramas, comedies and musicals.
“This play is very current and relevant to contemporary issues of relationships, family dysfunction and expectations,” said Rachel Weiss, the student director. “It’s very funny, very edgy, but it also is an important commentary about entitlement, loyalty, the pressure to fit in and how we relate to each other in our families and in society.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel wrote the play in the 1990s, but he encourages directors to change words and references in each production to make it more relevant to the audience for which it’s performed.
‘MAKE PEOPLE THINK AND TALK’
“I think we have a very funny play that will also make people think and talk,” Weiss said. “Even though it’s an outrageous concept — that parents would just give up, abandon their kids and run away to the racetracker — it points out that we all tend to become obsessed with things to distract us from the feelings and relationships we can’t handle.”
Weiss, who has performed in multiple BMHS theatre productions throughout her four years of high school, is excited to be directing for the first time.
“I really appreciate our teacher Sheresa Wilbanks trusting me to direct and we have an amazing cast who have worked really hard to bring this play together,” Weiss said. “And we are so lucky to have a true theater professional like Kaylee Brennard as our technical director.”
Weiss said she was inspired by the Chicago director Erika Ratcliff who directed her at the Northwestern University Theatre Institute that Weiss attended last summer.
“It’s so great when we, as students, are taught by professional theater artists,” Weiss said.
CAST AND CREW
Battle Mountain student Karen Munoz is the stage manager and Eva Hutchinson is the assistant director. Anabel Johnson is in charge of costumes and also performs.
Senior Kara Greve plays one of the older siblings trying to take care of the younger kids, while dealing with her own mental illness. Greve also competes on the BMHS speech and debate team, and said her speech coaches, Samantha Neale and Diane Wagener, helped her develop her theatrical skills.
“It’s amazing how something that is just words on a page comes to life on the stage,” Greve said.
Luis Juarez, a BMHS junior, said his role in the play has helped him to learn more about himself by developing an understanding about his very complex character.
“Working with Rachel as a director, she has helped me see into myself and into this other world created by the play,” Juarez said. “I love being an actor. It’s literally changing my life.”
The cast also includes Jasper Stone, Jack Rauch, Rachel Ledon, Michael Evans, Bret Pilkington, Dudley Ottley, Blake Peterson, Michel Battaglin, Berit Kirchner, Lindsay Poff and Aimee Brandt.