Ruff Draft

What’s the deal with The Outsiders?

Seniors Kelan Owen (Sodapop) and Bret Williams  (Ponyboy) rehearse. (photo provided)

Seniors Kelan Owen (Sodapop) and Bret Williams (Ponyboy) rehearse. (photo provided)

Seniors Kelan Owen (Sodapop) and Bret Williams (Ponyboy) rehearse. (photo provided)

Trey McCabe, Memorial Staff Writer

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You’re sitting in your second hour, listening to the daily round-up of scholastic announcements over a static-riddled intercom. As you tune in and out, trying not to nod off this early in the morning, you hear that Memorial’s first theatrical production, “The Outsiders,” will be premiering not three, not two, but one month after school started. Did you hear that right?

Yes, yes you did. Well, you say, that’s…different. And you would be right. The theatre department had to shift the whole show’s schedule forward in order to have it ready on time.

“Auditions were at the end of last year, [because] we’ve never done anything like this,” senior Bret Williams (Ponyboy) said. “We usually do one [major] play a year, but this year we’re doing two.”

Drama teacher Carolyn Merritt extrapolates on this, explaining that the play is on a smaller scale partially to offset the cost of having two productions in one semester

“It’s something new, we’re calling it ‘On the Dime Productions,’ because we weren’t basing production on anyone but ourselves so the production fee was much less, but [the actors] had to supply more of their own stuff,” Merritt said.

Evidently, the alternate system is effective, as Bret Williams had kind words for his cast and their investment in the show.

“I think this cast is the best I’ve ever had to work with in my four years being here,” Williams said. “I was very impressed with everybody’s work ethic and their commitment.”

For some students, this investment was not only a matter of commitment, but a matter of creative expression as well.

“What I was the most excited about [was giving] my tech students who want to go into design an opportunity to have a student-designed show,” Merritt said. “That’s really what I wanted to focus on [with this show.]”

The costumes were designed by junior Corrin Dugan, which she said was demanding but worthwhile.

“Overall, designing costumes turned out to be a process that required a lot of hard work and attention to small details. Most of the costumes I had to find personally,” Dugan said. “But the final product of seeing them put together on stage was definitely worth it!”

The show also received high praise from its audience, including fellow Fine Arts faculty member Wes Singleton. “I thought the characters were so believable that I forgot who the real kids were,” Singleton said.

But, you ask, what’s next? “The Outsiders” has come and gone to the sound of standing ovation, but you’re pretty sure you heard something over the announcements today about Dr. Seuss, and you’re a little confused about the timeline.

“Open auditions will be held for ‘A Day With Dr Seuss,’ which will be [comprised of] two one-act plays, ‘The Lorax’ and ‘Horton Lays an Egg,’” Merritt said.

The play will also be a mainstage production, and will not be student-run as The Outsiders was. Auditions will be held the week of Sept. 24.

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What’s the deal with The Outsiders?