KJSHS play showcases student talent

KJSHS students Eli Erickson and Kendra Aase practice for the KJSHS play. The cast performed on Wednesday, May 8. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Madison King) 

Set the stage. Dim the lights. Let’s begin. Our setting: Kemmerer Junior Senior High School. Our characters: students ranging from newbie seventh graders to seniors only a few weeks from graduating.

The auditorium is set for dancing and the props are ready. Welcome to “The Best High School Show.” This year, the KJSHS school play on Wednesday, May 8, consisted of multiple shows and plays familiar to audiences who love television, movies and Broadway.

“It’s called a music medley. The play is a bunch of scenes from different shows and plays. Some of the scenes have a special meaning to them,” said Shelbie Price, sophomore actor playing Gabriel in “High School Musical” along with many other characters. 

“Alice in Wonderland”, “A Christmas Story” and “Finding Nemo” are only a taste of what the show offered.

The crew has been working hard for months, and they looked forward to presenting the show to an audience. Indonesian exchange student Yuliyanti Seva explained why the show is appealing to the actors and audience alike.

“It is a funny play. It is not the same story and gives you a feeling while you are watching it. We have worked hard to make this show great,” Seva said.

Kemmerer junior high and high school students practice for the school play. The students worked together to perform a medley of scenes and songs from plays, movies and T.V. shows. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Madison King) 

There are many actors in this year’s play, including the actors from the junior high school. This is the first year the seventh and eighth grade has been able to work together with the high schoolers in the play.

“It is a fun bonding experience,” said Amelia Despain, a seventh grader. “It is a privilege because theater is mostly for high schoolers, and it helps me get out of my shell.”

Eighth grader Olivia Syler added to Despain’s comments.

“It’s pretty cool. I enjoy it and I’m happy I could be a part of it,” Syler said.

Katie Lindgren is the coach for the theater group. She explained why the junior high was allowed to participate alongside the high schoolers this year.

“Theater stops at the sixth grade,” Lindgren said.“We want their training to continue so that they can continue to love the theater through all of their school years.”

Not only do the junior high students benefit from this transition, but so do the high schoolers. Two senior boys in the play expressed why the addition of the junior high kids helped the show.

“It gives (those students) more parts, so it is easier on us,” Coy Taylor said.

“It increases the numbers in the cast and gives us diversity, but they are still inexperienced and need coaching. We are here to help fix their mistakes to the best of our ability,” Brendon Dunford said.

Taylor and Dunford are also known as the “Two Fat Guys” in a part of the play.

Learning lines and songs as part of theater education has many benefits, but isn’t without its share of challenges, such as getting used to a new cast, like the students here have done.

Terry Uranbold pointed out some challenges he’s had as a novice to theater.

“There is no such thing as challenges,” Uranbold joked, “but when it comes to singing — oh my goodness!” Terry has multiple roles in the play this year, and he plays the role of a father in two of those parts. These parts are very important to him. “My roles are both fathers, and it kinda gives me lessons about what kind of father I should be,” Uranbold said.

But the benefits of being a part of the play seem to outweigh the challenges the actors face as they prepare in Kemmerer High School’s auditorium. 

“It helps with my memory,” said Kendra Aase, an actor playing Dory in “Finding Nemo.” “It helps me project my voice for people to hear and show people my enthusiasm for theater.”

In turn one of the Two Fat Guys gives his share of benefits. “In the short term, it’s fun and we get free food. In the long term, we get to learn how to work with people and how to plan ahead. With all that’s happening, being able to plan ahead is important. Plus, we learn responsibility for our parts,” said Dunford.

The theater is an extraordinary part of high school where students can come learn to be patient and being able to walk in another human’s, or animal’s, shoes. For Lindgren, the experience is even more than that.

“The arts are important. They help strengthen individualism and teamwork. There are incredible life lessons learned on the stage,” Lindgren said.

For the past few months, the cast has been working on this play, and they were thrilled to have their friends and family in the audience enjoy it just as much as they did. They learned that theater is more than just acting and singing — it’s being able to live another life inside of your own.

Here we are at the end. The songs are sung. The cast has taken their bows and the curtain has come down. The crew bids you adieu from “The Best High School Play.”

(GAZETTE PHOTO / Madison King) 

(GAZETTE PHOTO / Madison King) 

(GAZETTE PHOTO / Madison King) 

(GAZETTE PHOTO / Madison King)