Hershey High School Theater readies 1-act play pair

Té Burkholder, Reporter

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The cast of “Check Please” poses for a group photo on April 16, 2019. The rigorous rehearsal was focused on polishing up the scenes for the performance. (Broadcaster/Té Burkholder)

Hershey High School Theater will be performing two one-act plays, “Check Please” and “Please Hold” on Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26 at 7:00 pm in the high school auditorium.

Tickets are five dollars for students and senior citizens, eight dollars for adults, and free for staff and faculty members at the school. Additionally, a film created by the school’s Film Club titled “The Third Floor Pool” will also be shown, something that has not been done before.

“Check Please,” written by Jonathan Rand and first performed in 2003 at the Barrington Community Theater according to Playscripts, tells the story of several couples in a restaurant on blind dates. Throughout the play, people representing humorous archetypes attempt to find love, leading to equally humorous results.

Just as comical is “Please Hold,” written by Clint Snyder according to Big Dog Plays, which shows various call center agents with severe personality flaws on the phone with problematic customers.

According to co-director Marco Falcucci, the Film Club’s project is about three students looking into the mystery of the high school’s fabled third floor pool. The film is co-directed by Falcucci and Elijah Cedeno.

The spring productions have a bit of a history in comedy, and the stories told on stage this year are no different.  Director Lisa Balanda described this year’s plays as “harmless, silly observations on stereotypes.”

Balanda, who also teaches English classes, is no stranger to the theater. Balanda has led the spring plays at the school for many years, and previously co-directed the fall plays and winter musicals with fellow English teacher Michelle O’Brien.

“I value every kid, every role.” Balanda said she prefers ensemble casts so every person in the play gets a chance to shine, and “there’s no hierarchy between the roles.”

Balanda added she loves to work with the young actors and actresses in the productions, and it is an enjoyable experience. Actress Shannon Myers, who will be playing the part of a mime named Mimi in “Check Please,” said, “[The best part is] meeting new people who join in on the fun.”

The social aspect is not the only reason acting is so enjoyable. Natalie Taylor, who is assuming the role of the overly peppy agent known as Krisy in “Please Hold,” said, “It’s fun to play a part and pretend to be someone else for a moment.” According to Taylor, making a character come to life is part of the experience.

Directing two plays at once comes with challenges. Balanda said the biggest roadblock is the set, which is why she tries to choose scripts that require more simple sets. This way, no major set changes are necessary.