CC-E's 'Trap' promises surprises

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
John Galm (Ephrain Salas) is forcefully removed by police from a theater where 247 people have fallen unconscious under unknown circumstances.
Photos by Colin Van Westen

When Clay Central-Everly play directors Allison Kulish and Holly Keenan selected the script for the high school's first fall offering, they were looking for a production with a sizable cast and a minimalistic approach to costumes, props and set. They decided on "Trap," the story of 247 people who fall unconscious at the same time in a theater without an explanation.

A cast of 20 actors will come together to bring the horror-documentary play to life through scenes and interviews meant to recreate the unlikely events. Until earlier this week the name of the play was kept secret from the general public and CC-E will be one of the first schools in the nation to showcase the new work.

"I think the whole play itself is quite intriguing and the plot goes back and forth," CC-E senior and cast member John Galm said. "It feels like it skips parts, but it doesn't at all. And then the ending is very surprising or shocking to anyone who is watching it or reading it for the first time."

Court Transcriptionist (EmmaKay McClain) records the proceedings as Judge Matalucci (Samatha Sible) presides over the hearing centering around the disappearance of a boy. Defendant Jonathan Mollusk (Jack Davis) is represented by defense attorney (Natalie Joenks) as Gander Main (Nola Gafkjen) and Norma Pike (Lizzy Hagedorn) participate in the proceedings.

"I would say it is a lot different than other plays," CC-E junior Savanna Handy said. "There is not as much interaction on stage. Not that there is much interaction off stage, but the audience may feel more involved just because of how the play is written and set up. The premise behind it is just very different."

The cast and a 10-person crew have worked an irregular schedule for most of the semester with the things coming together in the last few weeks as students realized they had less than 10 rehearsals left. Some of the cast and the directors agreed the serious tone and subject matter presented new challenges for CC-E thespians as many recent musical productions have had lighter themes.

"I think the hardest thing for them is to be serious," Kulish said. "A lot of times they feel weird having to scream or act panicked. They feel awkward doing that in front of people. That has been the biggest obstacle. I think they have done really well adjusting.

She continued, "Both of us are also the speech coaches. Most of these kids are in speech as well, so we know their strengths as far as acting goes. We know which ones are funny, which ones can be dramatic, and which ones can scream on command because they have a lot of that in this since it's dramatic. We have never done anything like this before."

CC-E senior Audrey Ruda, Galm and Handy welcomed the opportunity to branch out and experiment with new character facets. Galm expressed admiration for his character, firefighter Ephrain Salas' selflessness. Handy explained how she was able to find common ground with her character, philosopher Candelaria Ortiz. She said she often finds herself providing others with information in the same way her character, and others, explain much of the background through interviews.

"My character is brand new to being a detective and she is trying really hard to get down to the what happened," Ruda said. "I found that I am similar to my character in that way. I always want to know what is going on and try to find a solution. I did find a few differences. For one, I don't normally wear leather and red lipstick."

Keenan said the students handled issues such as lighting and staging changes with flexibility through the process, especially in the final weeks.

"I would have to say I was happy with how well they kept it a secret," Keenan said. "We were a little apprehensive about whether they were actually going to keep everything a secret. They have done fairly well, for the most part."

"Trap" will open Friday night at 7 p.m. in the old gym at the high school in Everly. A second performance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday. The show will run approximately 1 1/2 hours without intermission. Adult tickets will be available for $5 and students tickets for $3. A soup supper will proceed the event beginning at 5 p.m. both nights. Soup and pie will be offered to guests for a freewill donation.

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