by Lorie Lewis Ham
Theatre at Reedley High School has always been high quality and a great experience for the students involved and those who attend. However, this year some of the students are getting an even bigger experience than in the past–senior D.J. Reimer wrote this fall’s play, 30 Minutes’til Curtain, that opens on November 9!
“The idea came up my junior year that we ( RHS drama club) wanted to do something different for the 2012-13 season,” said D.J. “We just weren’t sure what it was.” Writing was something new for D.J. “I am NOT a writer. I am so sporadic that I can’t stick to one task at a time. This is one of the first projects that I’ve dreamt of that has stuck!”
As to how the plot came to be, it all began in the dressing room during their show last year, A Servant of Two Masters. “Since the audience is on the stage for the fall play, the actors in the dressing room have to turn off the light when someone wants to come inside the dressing room,” continued D.J. “Someone came in and we turned the lights off. When we turned them back on, one of our actresses was missing… She ended up being behind a rack of costumes but I jokingly said, ‘What if we wrote a play about that.’ Those eight words became the show that will open November 9!”
KCUSD Theatre Arts Coordinator, and show director, Mark Norwood was all for the idea because he believes experience is the best teacher. “Learning all aspects of theatre is always my goal and playwriting is a fundamental aspect.” D.J. is also directing the second act.
30 Minutes’til Curtain is a murder-mystery-comedy set in a modern day high school. It involves a modern day Drama Club putting on an original play. It is truly art imitating life and life imitating art all at the same time. Mark’s goal of establishing Reedley High Theatre as a benchmark program that students can feel proud of and audiences can truly enjoy, is being met by these hard working students.
“It is a major undertaking,” continued Mark. “It’s one thing to create a few interesting characters and some snappy dialogue. It’s quite another to tie all of it together into an engaging story that will hold an audience’s attention for two acts. It is very important to me that the students get a complete theatrical experience from the ground up.”
D.J. began brainstorming ideas in January and February but didn’t start writing until March, with most of the play being written over the summer. “Writing a mystery is extremely difficult,” continued D.J. “So many loose ends have to be tied and it can be challenging at times. In the show, we have three different endings. That made the equation even more complicated. But I loved writing a lot of the characters. Creating something from scratch was really rewarding.”
While most of the show was written by D.J., Mark did of course provide help and guidance along the way. “Mark Norwood did have an axe every time I tried to put in something ‘too high schoolish,” said D.J. “He added and cut a few lines here and there but it was Mark’s vision for this show to be student driven.”
“This is the first student written show ever,” continued D.J. “It’s funny without being too over the top. It is heartwarming without being too preachy. And you’ll never see anything like it again, so buy tickets now! Some humor is inside humor for Reedley High Students but other than that, it is universally accepted humor.”
While D.J. is also playing a lead role in the show, other cast members include Karissa Issak, Zach Clemmer, Janelle Dahl, Skyler Quammen, Alodie Resendiz, Kiara Hill, Lawrence Halverson, Joseph Ham, Kelsey Ikemiya, Alexis Hoang and an ensemble featuring a dozen more talented students.
Tickets can be purchased at Bike Trax in Reedley or at the door, for $7 for students and $10 for adults. Show dates are November 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and November 11 at 2 p.m. at the Reedley High School Performing Arts Theatre, 740 W. North Ave., Reedley.