Hamilton Students’ Play Offers Chuckles, Fun Scares - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Hamilton Students’ Play Offers Chuckles, Fun Scares

October 23rd, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Hamilton Students’ Play Offers Chuckles, Fun Scares

By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

People who want to get spooked and laugh the next moment can find humor and horror in a comedic mystery that students at Hamilton High School are performing next month.

The Hamilton High School Performing Arts Department will hit the stage with “Loco-Motion, Commotion, Dr. Gorilla and Me” by Tim Kelly Nov. 1-2 and Nov. 8-10 in the school auditorium at 3700 S. Arizona Ave.

The play tells the story of Priscilla Del Mar, who has traveled into the country with her superstitious cousin, Patsy, to look at “The Old Dark House,” a home she inherited from her weird uncle, who had engaged in strange experiments.

The property had burned down under suspicious circumstances, so the girls have to take shelter in the home of a master criminal, Dr. Gorilla. The girls do not know initially that guests at a nearby “home for the upset” have also come onto Dr. Gorilla’s property.

Those quirky characters include the feuding Grandma Hatfield, Lizzie Borden and Sweet Alice Blue Goon. Some strange experiments out of “The Old Dark House” also appear to be on the loose, and the audience will see disappearing corpses, “mile-a-minute” chase scenes and other lunacy, a press release said.

“This a fun-scary show that is appropriate for all ages,” Christina Vail, Hamilton High theater sponsor/director said. “Our goal is to make the audience jump then laugh at what startled them. We are going for a ‘Scooby-Doo’ feel.”

Vail is also the sponsor of the Speech and Debate and Urban Lemmings Improvisation Team clubs.

“Hamilton Theatre Department is blessed to have a lot of talented performers,” Vail said. “This is a large-cast play, almost 30 students on stage and 50 backstage, and audiences will see many Zoni and National Youth Arts Awards winners and nominees.

“Brooke Moore, my student teacher this year, is helping with vocals and choreography,” Vail added. “Even though everything is made and managed by our technical theatre classes, we are fortunate to have adult mentors who help lead our students. Jack Pieza, Jazmyn Plantillas and Maddie Hettrich are assisting with sets and props. Jay Penrod is assisting with lighting and sound, and Ben Bozovich is helping us with costumes.”

Hamilton High senior Adrian Dozal, 17, is thrilled to play the role of Chester McCoy in the play. Adrian said Chester has a crush on Priscilla and while “he tries to act all tough, inside he’s kind of a scaredy cat.”

“I’m so excited to play this part,” Adrian said. “He reminds me a lot of myself in different ways. He makes all these really lame dad jokes. I think it’s so funny because I do that all the time, too.”

He said Chester follows Priscilla and Patsy as they journey to “The Old Dark House” and then Dr. Gorilla’s home.

“He’s like kind of scared for them and he wants to keep an eye on them,” he added. “His dad is Priscilla’s employer. He surprises them. They all wind up stuck in this house together. The entire show they have to deal with all these random, strange people that are just like wandering around the house. It’s like a comedy thriller. There’s like scary elements to it, but it’s mostly funny.”

Adrian first got involved in theater when he tried out for “Shrek the Musical” his sophomore year, and he enjoyed playing a guard and villager in the ensemble for that show.

“Singing is what kind of inspired me to audition for the musical,” he said. “So growing up, I sing all the time. I sang with my church choir. At the end of my freshman year, I started a band with friends, started taking vocal lessons. My vocal teacher encouraged me to audition for a musical. I love performing. I think it’s so much fun to be able to put yourself out there and just have all these people’s undivided attention and to be able to captivate them through singing or dancing or acting. I get so much joy out of doing it.”

He said he is also happy he got into acting because he has made many friends and started dating his girlfriend, who is also performing in “Loco-Motion”

Adrian believes the audience will find the play “really exciting to watch.”

“I think they’ll probably appreciate how wacky it is and then there’s some parts where it gets really chaotic,” he said. “There’s gonna be a lot happening on stage. There’s some really outrageous characters.”

Griffen McClendon, 16, a junior at Hamilton and head of business for the school’s theater department, said the play “can be a little scary and then it’s funny, as well.”

The play does have some singing and dancing and “it’s all far out there,” he said.

As a student in Hamilton’s technical theater class, he and some of his peers provide marketing for the play, hang up posters, as well as make tickets and programs and serve as ushers at the show.

“You learn every side of theater…how to do costumes with makeup and sewing, sets, lights, props, stage management,” Griffen said, adding:

“Definitely the business side of things will help me in whatever career I choose. Everybody who is involved in this, it’s kind of like a big family. It’s a place where everybody can be themselves. It’s such a positive environment. Everybody’s just a nice person to each other.”

“Loco-Motion, Commotion, Dr. Gorilla and Me” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2, 8 and 9, and at 2 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 10. Tickets are $7 when purchased ahead of time in the Hamilton High bookstore and $10 if bought at the door.