Helena High Theatre Ready for Showtime
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
When HHS theater instructor Jefferson Casey held auditions for the recent production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” he “expected 30 kids, but 56 showed up. That changed a lot of things quickly as to how I proceeded.”
Casey double-cast the show. Students who did not play a role were required to be part of the production—they could choose tech team, usher or makeup artist.
“Most students have taken it very seriously and have shown up to help even when their cast was not performing,” Casey said prior to the final performance.
At that time, several students shared about their role. All noted that the experience brought everyone enrolled in the theater arts program together, supporting one another.
The character Teddy Brewster was played by junior Brayden Watts who said, “I had a lot of fun in theater I (at PHS) last year and saw most of the plays. I was pleased that when I auditioned, I got one of the main comic roles. Teddy lives in a world inside his head and thinks that he is Teddy Roosevelt. To prepare, I did research on Teddy Roosevelt and I watched Night at the Museum.”
Cana Brown, in costume and makeup said, “I play Abby Brewster, an old lady who kills people.”
“This is my first time on stage and I have learned a lot about stage presence, timing and the importance of warming up,” Brown said.
Curtis Woods, playing Officer O’Hara, enrolled in theater because, “It’s that class you can show your personality.”
“Yesterday was rough for me; while I was rehearsing, my auntie died. Mr. Casey and the cast and crew were there for me,” Woods said.
For James Jackson, Asst. Stage Manager, this is his first year living in Helena. He enjoys being a part of the theater tribe and says, “I’m happy to say the kids are friendly and willing to engage even if they don’t know you.”
Andrew Black, whose family moved to Alabama from Houston, plays Dr. Einstein, the killer’s accomplice. Black says he wasn’t nervous, that for him being on stage seemed second nature.