PHS students tackle the words of Arthur Miller

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

With one week left before their production of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” the Plainville High School theater club members are brushing up lines, finalizing the set, and preparing to showcase their work to an intimate audience.

Performances will take place on the stage of the Mel Perry Auditorium on March 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and March 18 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $7 and it is suggested that tickets be purchased in advance as seating is limited.

PHS students are tackling the complex drama within Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” post-World War II setting.

“‘All My Sons’ is a powerful work that requires actors capable of revealing a deep emotional core,” director Jeff Blanchette said. “I have an exceptional ensemble.”

The senior leads in the production, all of whom have been actively involved with the theater program during their PHS tenure, said that the show gives a glimpse of a perfect suburban family. “But they are by no means average,” said Kloe Hidri, who plays Kate Keller, or “mother.” After three years of directing and stage management, this is Hidri’s first time acting under Blanchette’s direction.

The director said that he selects plays that ask important life questions and relate to the students. Bryan Skarb, who plays Chris Keller (the son), said that the show has a large emphasis on family values, which students today can relate to.

“What’s good about great art,” said Jackson Anderson, “is that the main take away is the same even if the setting is different.” Anderson plays the character Joe Keller in Miller’s play.

Viewers will be exposed to a deep secret when watching the play, but it won’t be far from reach. Unlike conventional theater-going experiences, the audience will be sitting on the stage during the entire three acts performance. The goal is to have a small, black-box theater environment, so each show will only hold 44 seats.

The crew sets up this environment each year for the springtime show. Blanchette’s productions are usually known as “the big play” to theater students, as opposed to the one-act plays and other shows throughout the year. This type of production comes with higher standards and a stricter audition process.

“Every line has to be memorized 100 percent by the first day of rehearsal,” said Erin Brochu who plays Ann Deever. “It’s more on a college level.”

Blanchette has worked with the majority of the cast members before. “I knew they were capable of meeting the many challenges this play presents,” he said. “I am immensely proud of them all.”

During an after school rehearsal, the director stopped everyone and told them to take a moment to collect their thoughts. He told his students that actors spend all of their time performing and practicing because that is their job, but for a high school student it is completely different. Balancing school work, jobs, extra-curricular activities, sports, and personal lives can be stressful enough for teenagers, he said, and there was no time between last period and rehearsal to unwind. After a quick moment, the cast and crew were back to business.

For more information email blanchettej@ plainvilleschools.org