Cast of 20 Featured in Spring Play; MAD Opens May 11

Clare Ravizza , Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Production for NDA’s 2017 spring play, Mutually Assured Destruction: 10 Plays About Brothers and Sisters (MAD) is already in progress.

The show is run by director and  Spanish teacher Sra. Crystal Dory and student director Jack Mickelson, a senior. Although this is Dory’s directing debut at NDA, Mickelson student-directed Ashland Falls alongside Mrs. Andrea Gilson.

Dory explained MAD as “the story of the relationships between siblings in 10 separate scenes that spans ten decades.”

Each scene features only two actors as siblings, whether they be brothers, sisters, or a brother and sister duo. The scenes highlight the relationship between the siblings in an intimate, one-on-one setting.

“Most of the scenes have a comedic element to them, but there are some sad and sweet moments as well,” described Dory.

Another layer to the show is the variation between decades. Dory notes that the show will feature a soundtrack to “reflect the decade of the scene,” as well as era-appropriate costumes and set, such as posters on the teens’ bedroom walls.

“No matter the decade, you will definitely see what was popular among teenagers reflected on the show,” she explained.

Auditions for MAD took place on Tuesday, March 21, and Wednesday, March 22. Over 30 NDA students auditioned.

“I was very pleased with the turnout,” said Dory. “The selection process is always difficult because the students that auditioned were fantastic and the talent was incredible.”

Mickelson added that “there were a few auditions that left my jaw wide open, there were some that I couldn’t stop laughing, and there were some that made me want to start crying.”

The selection process was, as Dory described, “exhausting.” Mickelson and Dory were left with the task of narrowing the audition pool down to the 20 NDA students who would be cast.

“One of my favorite parts of being a student director is the entire audition process. The selection part is always hard, however, due to the fact that not everyone can be cast,” explained Mickelson. “There were so many talented people that came out this year so that made it even more difficult.”

After the director and student director reached their decision, the cast list was released and  featured a group of talented NDA students, spanning from freshmen to seniors, newbies to seasoned thespians.

Junior Eric Weycker and senior Katie Gapinski will be starring as Julian and Tara in the 2015 play, “A Mutually Assured Destruction.” “15 Minutes of Clown Fame,” taking place in 2002, will be taken on by junior Paul Gapinski (Joe) and sophomore Theo Van Straten (Sam). Megan and April in 1993s “The Fount of Inspiration” will be played by senior Anabelle Xiong and sophomore Rebekah Boucher.

1985-era brother and sister Chad and Rachel will be played by sophomore Jake Vanderleest and freshman Bella Zingler in “I’m Pretty Sure This Is Your Fault.” Junior Clare Burke Ravizza (Carol) and senior Kyle Yurek (Tim) will be taking on “A New Hopelessness,” circa 1977. In “Lassoing an Angel,” which takes place in 1955, freshman Henry Kanning and senior Jordan Zehms star as siblings Richard and Mary.

Additionally, juniors and real-life brothers Wade and Wyatt Druar will play the roles of 1994 brothers Jimmy and Charlie in “A Love Letter to Ma.” Evelyn and Virginia from 1922s “Very, Very Cold Feet,” will be taken on by juniors Lilly Brada and Nadine Druar.

“I am proud of the 20 students that were cast,” said Dory. “They are all working hard and are very dedicated.”

In the preliminary stages of the play, students in their sibling pairs will work with either Dory or Mickelson during rehearsal as staging and line delivery are mastered. Pairs rotate between working for a time with the director, student director, or running lines independently.

However, as the show progresses and opening night comes closer, all the scenes will rehearse together almost daily.

So far for Dory, her first foray into the world of theatre directing has been “amazing!”

“I could not have asked for a better experience for my first time directing a show at NDA.  And I can’t stop laughing because the show is hilarious,” she added.

Dory encourages those in the NDA community and beyond to come see the show, opening on Thursday, May 11, and with additional shows on Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13.

“This show has something for everyone: grandparents, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cousins friends, and siblings will all appreciate the fun music, and for some it will be very nostalgic to travel back in time,” she explained.