ROCKSPRINGS — Last weekend’s presentation of the musical Urinetown by the Meigs High School Drama Club was a resounding success.
Director Amy Perrin and her troupe of talented teen thespians and technicians earned standing ovations from the appreciative and enthusiastic audiences at both Friday and Saturday’s public performances. Months of preparation, hard work and long hours of rehearsal and set up paid off as the young performers received protracted applause after each successive, adeptly executed musical number proving that even in a smaller rural school district talents abound if properly nourished and given the opportunity to flourish.
Transforming a high school gymnasium and stage into a functional theater is no small task, but Perrin and Assistant Director Garrett Riffle with a small entourage of experienced and talented professionals (and crews of exceptional students under their guidance) rose to the challenge. In a relatively short (though intensive) time period, massive sets and high-tech sound and lighting systems converted a typical gym into a working performance space capable of impressing even the most truculent theater critic. The stark set’s main component was a large scaffolding (from Safeway Scaffolding) with quadruple staircases providing entrance and exit access to an upper deck that gave a two-layered and very roomy appearance and utility to an otherwise wide yet shallow stage. The metal pipe structure along with large wheeled flats offered ample surfaces for mounting stationary and movable lighting fixtures which the Technical Directors (Darby Gilmore, of Nashville, and Roger Gilmore) used to great advantage in creating striking looks for some of the show’s most important moments.
The student sound and lighting crews of Jake Scherfel, Graci Riffle, Trenton Durst, Devon Erwin, Hannah Ridenour, Aaliyah Tobin, Mikayla Schwendeman and Kati Brinker performed adeptly and admirably under adverse conditions and the occasional equipment failures. The talented cast and capable stage crew who continually gave their all under less than optimum circumstances were: Noah Anderson, Hope Diehl, Greg Sheets, Josie Donohue, Evan Hennington, Gus Kennedy, Destiny Vining, Hayley Lathey, Maddy Wood, Emily Pullins, Marissa Kissee, Ezra Briles, Eli Leigh, Brody Reynolds, Makayla Kimes, Lelia Ashirova, Sky Green, Jasmine Conley, Hannah Barnette, Alexis Medley, Amanda Landaker, Chase Jones and Elizabeth Fackler.
A production the size and scope of Urinetown is a challenge under the best of circumstances and its complexity is only compounded when staged in a facility whose main function is certainly not that of theater, thus the show’s Directors and Technical Consultants cannot overstate the importance of the cooperation of MHS for the assistance and forbearance extended prior to and especially during show week. Toney Dingess graciously offered the use of the band room as “dressing room” and all around staging area, and the overall theater experience was definitely enhanced by the good folks who ran concessions and prepped for the cast party.
MPAC (Meigs Performing Arts & Community Center) Foundation members were present both nights conducting fundraisers and educating the receptive and enthusiastic crowds regarding their ongoing efforts for the creation of a theater for the performing arts with learning facilities for the associated arts and sciences and high tech convention style gathering spaces for public use. The MPAC structure will be the fulfillment of a dream of a brighter tomorrow for not only the “theater kids” but for all who reside in Meigs County. The MPAC Foundation is a fund of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO).