Arts and Entertainment

PAC Theatre Troupe captures on-stage chemistry

Senior Isaac Wacker, left, plays Gordon in the Wolf Pac Theatre Troupe’s production of “The Night I Died at the Palace Theatre.” Gordon is a key suspect in the murder of play director Dexter Allen. - Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times
Senior Isaac Wacker, left, plays Gordon in the Wolf Pac Theatre Troupe’s production of “The Night I Died at the Palace Theatre.” Gordon is a key suspect in the murder of play director Dexter Allen.
— image credit: Katie McVicker/Whidbey News-Times

It’s amazing what can happen to a group a high school students when they’re dressed up in suit coats and traditional dresses. British and crotchety old-man accents surface, inner divas come out and creative juices flow freely.

This weekend the Coupeville High School Wolf PAC Theatre Troupe will present its first play of the season, “The Night I Died at the Palace Theatre,” written by Pat Cook. The play, which the students have been working on since the second week of school, is a comedic mystery. In the story, a group of colorfully crazy actors show up to rehearse the final scene of their most recent production when they discover their director lying dead on stage. As an investigation ensues to find out who among them is the killer, strange personality traits surface and the secrets pour out.

Play director Peg Tennant said one of the biggest challenges with the production was fully developing the actors. Since the play isn’t set heavy and has little scenery, the quality of the show depends on the amount of chemistry that comes through in the characters’ interactions. Tennant said after an initial struggle, the students have begun to understand how to play up the humor and are enjoying the script.

“They’re really starting to have fun,” Tennant said, “but they’re starting to feel the pressure of opening this weekend.”

The Theatre Troupe is an after school club and depends solely on funding from donations and ticket sales. Tennant said she’s impressed with the students who are able to juggle school work and sports in addition to participating in the Troupe.

Freshman Briess Potter who plays the deceased’s mistress said she’s excited to take on more complicated plays than she was able to participate in at the middle school level. She hopes community members will come out and see what her peers are capable of doing.

“It’s a different view of what the average person thinks us crazy teenagers are doing,” Potter said.

“We put a lot of hard work into it,” junior Shannon Boyer added.

The play opens Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at the Coupeville High School Middle School and runs through next weekend. Future performance dates and times include Nov. 7 at 2 p.m., Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. General admission is $5; $3 for children and students with ASB cards.

Tennant said she hopes to have a full house at the shows.

“It’s about the best entertainment for $5 around,” she said. “It’s a way to support positive student effort, because these guys really do put the work in.”

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