“One of the funniest shows ever,” is how one observer described the newest production by the Monroe Youth Theatre.
The Theatre’s (MYT) Director Allison Pickerell sits in the middle of the MYT stage surrounded by the cast and crew of the upcoming production of “Dearly Departed,” playing back scenes from the first dress rehearsal which finished up a few minutes before.
She shares snippets of each character’s lines, pausing the recording intermittently making suggestions and changes.
Meanwhile, Producer, Kathy Grace sits several rows back from the stage watching the direction quietly, taking everything in during the last week of preparations.
This year’s cast includes several seasoned veterans at the high school, along with several lowerclassmen and middle school students, who have been “bumped up” for this production, as not enough actors were available in the high school.
As the public performances loom closer and closer it is apparent how much work goes into the production.
Grace points toward her crew, who were taking a much-needed break after assembling walls, carrying a makeshift coffin off and on stage and making sure the lighting is just perfect.
She mentions a few by name, saying, “Karlee Watson has done a great job with props and Sydni Watson, this is her first year doing lights and she is just wonderful.”
“The kids on stage are so talented, but people don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes. We are so proud of all of the cast and crew,” Grace noted.
At press time Grace, Pickerell and the cast and crew have just a few more days to work out all the last minute kinks before their first public performance.
The play will be performed for local schools March 21 and 22 and then again on March 26 and 27.
As Pickerell finishes her critique of the performances, she next asks the characters to line up one at a time in costume on stage and she looks over each cast member looking for any flaw in their dress or makeup, pointing out, “Evan, your ‘beard’ needs to be a little darker” or “Hope, do you think you need a darker shade of base?”
Although, production is just a few days away the cast and crew members, at least on the outside, show very few signs of jitters. The group has become very close-knit over the years as several have grown up together with the newer recruits being welcomed right into the family. They all help each other with remembering lines, setting up the stage and working to make this amateur play stand right up alongside some of the greatest theatrical performances of all time.
If you want to be entertained while supporting your local youth, you will not want to miss this production centered in the backwoods of the Bible Belt.
The Turpin family will have you laughing through their hilarious efforts to pull themselves together for their father’s funeral which becomes overshadowed by family problems. Chaos ensues as the family turns to their eccentric and misfit friends and neighbors for comfort during this sad time.
The Monroe Youth Theatre is ran entirely on donations and appreciates any and all support of their program, which includes a summer youth drama camp for elementary students as well as a middle school play, a high school play and a murder mystery held during the summer.
They would also like to encourage anyone in the middle or high school who has an interest to come out and join the theater.
The show will be open to the public on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m., at the Monroe Youth Theatre located at the old Tompkinsville High School. The cost of admission is $6 for adults and $3 for students.