Scotts Valley High School’s drama club is at it again, as they prepare to present their one-act winter play, “Our Place,” at the new Scotts Valley Performing Arts and Cultural Center (SVPACC), located next door to the library, on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Like all winter plays, “Our Place” is student-directed, with seniors Ian McHatton and Alex Wirth at the helm of this production. McHatton and Wirth’s team is supported by junior co-producers Sydney Clark and Ava Kreer, and the awesome foursome bring charisma, professionalism, compassion and energy to their roles.
“It is a series of vignettes that all take place in the same setting,” Wirth said about the play. “It’s meant to show how a variety of people come together and share very different stories and experiences in the same space. It’s all about how people can bond together over one location—a simple wooden dock.”
McHatton added, “It’s a dramedy, so it’s a combination of very dramatic scenes with some light comedy, too. We have a huge variety of people in the cast, and a few different skills that these actors are flexing.”
Overseeing the production is English and Drama teacher Kendra Kannegaard, who, according to Clark’s tongue-in-cheek description, is “there to make sure students don’t fall off ladders.”
Kannegaard, who’s been a stalwart of the drama department since 2013, is impressed by the way McHatton, Wirth, Clark and Kreer work together to bring this production to life.
“It’s a strange experience to put so much work into a play that will be done in one day,” said Kannegaard, referring to the single day run of “Our Place.”
Kannegaard also highlights the multitude of other responsibilities that her drama team has.
“In addition to participating in this play and being students, many of them are also rehearsing for our spring musical, ‘Something Rotten,’ so they’re pulling double duty in the drama department,” she said.
As a member of the SVPACC board, Kannegaard was hoping to see her students’ winter play production in a larger-than-life venue, and with the performing arts center offering advanced tech capabilities, the drama team was all in on the opportunity to perform their program in the plush new theater.
“One of my logistical nightmares is getting our set transported to the theater; once it’s there, our students can take over and do what they do best,” said Kannegaard, who has never faced the challenge of moving a set from its home stage at the high school to a different venue. “It’s going to be interesting to see us pull this off in just 48 hours.”
Kannegaard added she is proud that “Our Place” will be the drama department’s debut in the new facility.
For all the logistical challenges that the directors and producers will face, they want to make one thing clear: they are in awe of their cast and crew.
“Our cast has been working really hard to pull this off. We have some new people who have never acted before, and a few people who are tackling more intense scenes. Our cast have been flexible and capable, and are really giving this production their all,” Clark said.
Between lines, blocking, costumes and props, McHatton is thrilled with the way the cast and crew are working seamlessly to bring the play to fruition.
“Every student has been so dedicated to this production and are putting in the work to make sure it’s successful,” McHatton said. “…As directors, it’s been ideal. We haven’t had one single issue with our cast, and that’s a rarity.”
McHatton and Wirth are new to the director’s chair and are thrilled to have a cast that rolls with the punches.
“They’re great at listening, being attentive and respectful. It’s been a great experience,” Wirth said.
Kreer, who also brings her acting chops to the stage in the production, has found working with the cast to be incredibly rewarding.
“The community that they’ve created with each other is so welcoming and productive, and they build off each other—they learn from each other, and become better thanks to those connections,” Kreer said.
Wirth added, “Adaptability is a great skill, but layering incredible talent upon that makes it a perfect cast. Getting people to laugh is much easier than moving them to tears, and it’s been really rewarding to watch our cast master both.”
Whether you want to laugh or cry, you can do both at “Our Place,” hosted at the Scotts Valley Performing Arts and Cultural Center, only on Saturday, Feb. 25. Only two showtimes: 5:30pm and 8pm. Tickets are available at showtix4u.com/event-details/71271.