Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 9:02 PM on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

High school play opens Pier One season

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Hailey Hughes bursts out in song from a scene in "Just Another High School Play" during rehearsals last Thursday at the Mariner Theatre. Watching are from left to right . Lily Wills, Tabitha Drover, Hughes, Tommy Bowe and Ryan Navrot.

Kazoos, rubber chickens and puppets. If it looks like the actors in "Just Another High School Play" are randomly pulling props out of a box, well, the students in Amy Christianson's Homer High School drama class are randomly pulling props from a box.

And not just props — the whole play is a grab bag of scripts, clichés and silly jokes. Written by Byron Starchman, who also wrote "Just Another High School Musical," the joke is that none of the students showed up for rehearsals and when Christianson ran away to Mexico to become a salsa dancer, the students had to put on their own play.

"It's pretty crazy," Christianson said. "For anyone who knows theater it's just absolutely hilarious. The jokes are common enough anyone's going to get them."

"Just Another High School Play" starts off the summer season for Pier One Theatre on the Homer Spit. Instead of performing in the ginormous Mariner Theatre, Pier One has invited the students to its intimate space. Normally the season starts on the Memorial Day weekend, but this year the chance for the high school students to put on their annual play gets the season going early. For a full schedule of Pier One events, see list, left and page 14.

Christianson's students selected the play — a good choice, she said.

"It's a very good play for high school roles," Christianson said. "That's why I like it. I like being able to cast high schoolers as high schoolers."

The idea allows students to try out — and have fun with — a lot of theater formats. In "Little Men and Surrealism," for example, the girls get angry that most plays feature men and dress up boys in skirts and do surrealism. "Romeo and Juliet: A Puppet Show" recreates the Shakespeare love story, but with puppets that look like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. "Our Town This Town" imagines Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" set in Homer, except the actors know nothing about Homer and start quoting Hollywood movie lines like "The hills are alive with the sound of traffic." Or kazoos. That's another riff on "The Sound of Music." "A Christmas Carol Rap" has Scrooge and Marley rapping, with Tiny Tim on a beat box, except that Tiny Tim gets confused and thinks he's the 1960s pop star singing with a ukelele.

"It's a fast paced play," Christianson said. "They're having a lot of fun with it."