The one-act play cast and crew of Litchfield High School decide the fate of humanity in their performance of “The Hearing.”
Director Heidi Thoma said she enjoys selecting thought-provoking plays.
“So we do a lot of talking about these concepts and going into detail,” Thoma said. “And there’s not a right or wrong answer. … It is a joy for me working with the kids. I’m opening (them) up to something new.”
Litchfield High School’s cast and crew will participate in the Section 4A Subsection competition Saturday, Jan. 25, at Mayer Lutheran High School, in Mayer.
The play, written by Brent Holland, depicts a dilemma involving a doctor destined to uncover a cure for a rare cancer, but who dies in a car crash. Two Representatives of Order have 48 hours to find three candidates willing to sacrifice their lives to resurrect the doctor. Meanwhile two Representatives of Chaos stand in the way.
Senior George Tepfer plays as one of the representatives of order, alongside senior Peter Dinius.
“It’s kind of like a court case,” Tepfer said, adding that the candidates haven’t a clue how they appeared in the court. “It’s not really something of human nature. They don’t really know what’s going on. (They) are wondering, ‘Where are we, how did this happen?’ And (we) can’t really explain that, because it’s not really of this world.”
Ariana Jackman, an LHS graduate and assistant director, said the cast consists of a “wide range of personalities,” and seeing them working toward a common goal is “really cool.”
“I find the concept of, 'Does the lives of many outweigh the lives of the few?' to be interesting, one that makes us think,” Jackman said, alluding to the play’s plot. “And I hope that is what audience members will take away from the show. Would they be willing to sacrifice themselves for the lives of many? I mean, if we really think about that, what would we learn about ourselves? Would that truth scare us?”
What surprised Jackman was seeing how 30 enthusiastic students demonstrated a desire to act in this play, she said.
“And I think it would have been the wrong choice to not give everyone the chance to be involved,” Jackman added. “I think the arts are extremely important and being able to introduce theater to a number of new faces has been an honor. It gets them out of their comfort zone and allows them to try new and crazy things in an environment where they won't be judged for what they do on the stage. I like to think they are learning a lot, all while creating something that is their own.”
Unlike other plays Thoma has directed, this one is about acting and the intensity of acting, she said.
“So it’s really hard,” Thoma said. “We work on characters and character development. We work on different acting skills. We work on acceptance.”
Thoma believes plays like “The Hearing” help open the 13 students’ minds and teach them to grapple with new ideas.
“Now this (doctor) who is the one who died, is not a nice person, but he’s brilliant,” Thoma said. “So you have people saying, ‘Why should we give up our lives?’ And the one person says, ‘We’re not giving it up for him, we’re giving it up for the people he’s going to save.’
“I get to work with (students), and we get to see the inner-person open up,” Thoma continued. “And this way, there is a safe place for them to be. These kids become a community. They become family. It’s someplace for them to fit in… It’s nice to see them finding a connection and finding themselves."