School play flashes back to past with Awesome 80s Prom tonight

Chase Deist, Lirim Krasniqi, and Naina Tsarni

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Lights! Camera! Action! ’80s!

Opening at 7pm tonight, the O’Shea Players will present the Ken Davenport play, The Awesome ’80s Prom. Tickets cost only $5 for students and $10 for adults, with $2 off for every adult wearing their best ’80s outfits.

Cast members will take you back to the Wanaget High School class of 1989 prom night, where a group of seniors are battling against each other for the title of prom king and queen.  The production is an improv style and interactive play, meaning that the audience may participate with the cast members throughout the show. The stage will be full of classic characters from the ’80s, complete with big hair-dos, colorful clothing, tons of hair gel, and of course, the music from 1989.

Because the play is mostly improvised, it can be too challenging for less experienced actors and is therefore not a popular choice for high school plays. But the WMHS students believed they could benefit from something new. “It’s very challenging and not a lot of schools try it, but we were like, ’Why not [try to do it ourselves]?” said sophomore Shareyne Repaje, who plays the Asian transfer student running for prom queen.

Audience members will be able to vote for their choice of prom king and queen at the end of the show, so the ending will vary every night. “It’s fun because you get to interact with the audience, and not like other plays where you’re stuck on stage,” junior Jyline Carranza said. “This is one of the first shows I genuinely get to sit down and have a conversation with the audience as another person.”

Theatre teacher and director Scott Tarzwell described the show as very “different” from what they have done in the past. ”There is so much improvisation, so for example cast members have to spend time listening to music and interacting with audience members,” Tarzwell said.

While doing a show without a lot of set dialogue is a challenge, the cast is having fun with the experience because theatre at Watkins Mill is “a very family-oriented environment,” said sophomore Sarah Elbeshbishi, who plays Kerrie, the nerdy character who is in love with the star football player.

“It’s an honor to work with these creative and sociable people,” junior Lenox Kamara said. Kamara plays the nerdy, socially awkward student nominated for prom king.

Though it was a very challenging show to do, the cast members, as well as Tarzwell, are very enthusiastic about this performance.  “Everyone seems really excited,” Tarzwell said.

The show premieres tonight at 7pm, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 7pm and a Saturday matinee at 2pm.  Arrive a half hour early to see the characters arrive at the prom and begin the celebration with them.

Dust off those leg warmers, tease up your hair, and come experience The Awesome 80s Prom.

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