Playshop Presents: Anatomy of Gray
The fall production features the play by Jim Leonard. Set in 1800’s Indiana, it has been described as a “children’s story for adults.”
When June’s father dies, she prays for a healer to come to the small town of Gray, so that no one will ever suffer again; the next thing she knows, there’s a tornado, and a man in a balloon blows into town claiming to be a doctor. At first, the new doctor cures anything and everything, but soon the town’s preacher takes ill with a mysterious plague. And then the plague begins to spread.
The drama unfolds as the play goes on, with moments of comedic relief.
Students have been preparing for the fall production since the beginning of the school year. Auditions were held back on September 18.
The play is a little unexpected for a high school performance, but it shows the strengths of NFA’s program and the skills of the students.
“I’m proud of the work the cast and crew has been doing thus far and think this will be something special,” said Phil Trostler, teacher and director. “(It’s a) different type of play, but great script, very interesting story and characters.”
When Sarah Coon ’21 transferred to NFA from Fitch, she hoped she would have a chance to participate. She never anticipated landing the lead female role of June. “I’m so happy I was given this opportunity,” she said. “I’m still adjusting to how things work here.”
A cast and crew of about 40 students, under the guidance of teacher Phil Trostler ’03, have been working hard memorizing lines, designing sets, and collecting costumes to fit the dreary, Midwestern atmosphere of the production. The theme of the play may be gray, but the actors’ faces light up bright when they talk about the work they’ve put into it.
“This is some of the best acting we’ve done,” says Destiny Rosario ’20, Stage Manager. “As the play evolves and we add in props and costumes (the actors) become more involved with their characters.”
For the leading actor, the play is a first opportunity to shine on stage. Simon Jeczmienny ’20 takes on the lead male role of Gray, the mysterious doctor who blows into town on a balloon and sets the story in motion. This is his first leading role and he has taken on the challenge of developing the character with guidance from Trostler, who he calls “our wonderful director.” He is particularly looking forward to making the audience laugh during “the kidney stone scene.”
As they wrap up the final preparations for Anatomy of Gray, the future of Playshop is bright. The cast and crew are led by upper classmen who are passing on their knowledge to the younger students. Over the past few years under Trostler’s instruction, the program has grown by leaps and bounds and continues to challenge the limits of ordinary high school drama programs. Anatomy of Gray is another brick in the wall of distinction the program has been building.
“This is not just a regular school play,” Rosario says. “ Jeczmienny added, “other high schools have plays. NFA has real performances. Mr. Trostler knows we can do more.”
Brady Rider ’20 plays Homer, a supporting role. “I’m excited for the feedback and reactions from the crowd,” he says. According to Coon, the best part of performing is the final product. “Seeing it all come together is very satisfying.”
The students are hoping their hard work will pay off and that when the curtains go up on November 16 the seats of Slater Auditorium will be filled.
Playshop presents: Anatomy of Gray
7 p.m., Fri., Nov. 16 and Sat., Nov. 17
$10 - adults, $5 - Students with ID, seniors, and children