The Wayne Highlands Middle School will be putting on their play, “G2K...Once Upon a Mattress,” tonight and tomorrow at the high school.
The Wayne Highlands Middle School will be putting on their play, “G2K...Once Upon a Mattress,” tonight and tomorrow at the high school. The play starts at 7 p.m. both nights. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. “We started auditions the second week of school,” said Jessica McDonough, director. “We've been working hard ever since.” She said including hair and makeup and backstage help, there are around 70 students involved. McDonough has been working with the district for six years and started with the Preston School. After a few years there she started doing the plays for the middle school. “I've been involved with the middle school play for four years now,” she said. “I've been directing them for three.” This is also the first year she'll be directing the high school play. Melody Feustel, an 8th grader who plays Queen Aggravain, is excited for her fifth show tonight. Every play she's been in have been through the middle school except one, which she did at the Ritz Theater in Hawley. “I love to play characters that are hard,” she said. “Queen Aggravain is the biggest departure from who she is as a person,” said McDonough of the characters Feustel has played. “It's been a process for her. It's been fun to see her transition and to watch where she started and where she's ended up. It's a neat growth pattern.” Feustel said that her favorite part about acting is working with “all different people.” “I like everything,” she said. “It's hard to pick just one thing.” She said that her favorite song from “G2K...Once Upon a Mattress” would have to be “'Happy Ever After' because it's fun.” Feustel added that she definitely plans to do plays when she's in high school. Drew Murphy, also in 8th grade, plays Minstrel. He is also taking part in his fifth show. Two of the shows he's been in were the high school's. “Depending on the show they let middle schoolers try out,” he said. Murphy played Lumière in Beauty and the Beast last year and said that was one of his favorite parts. “It was a cool costume,” he said. “I loved doing 'Be Our Guest.'” McDonough added that “Be Our Guest” was one of her top scenes done as a director. “We're happy to have him back,” said McDonough. “He's a strong leader and shines through the whole performance.” Murphy stated that his favorite song from “G2K...Once Upon a Mattress” is “Minstrel, the Jester and I.” “I get to goof around with the Jester and we all get to shake our booty to the audience,” he said. “The queen is the funniest character during that song.” Kayleigh Pugh is in 6th grade and plays Winnifred. She will be starring in her third play. The first two she was in were at the Ritz Theater. “She surprised us in a good way at auditions,” said McDonough. “I got interested through my brother Jordan,” Pugh said. “I owe it all to him.” She said Jordan played Gaston in Beauty and the Beast last year. “He would come home singing the songs and he was so good,” Pugh stated. “I knew it was something I wanted to try.” Agreeing with Murphy, she said that “Minstrel, the Jester and I” is her favorite song from this year's play. “It's so pretty and it's fun,” she said. Pugh also said that her favorite part is getting to “hang out with people older than me.” “When the school year starts, it's all new for the sixth graders,” said McDonough. “This is a way to give them a chance to find their place and to find people who have the same positive aspirations as they do.” Pugh also commented on stage fright. “It's not so much about getting on stage and doing it,” she said. “It's what people will think of you doing the performance.” McDonough also gave credit to the Ritz Theater for what they do for students. “The Ritz has helped the school districts and they give a great learning experience to the students,” she said. “It's educational and it's also a fun, social outlet for them. They're wonderful. That's what the arts should be about-community.” McDonough also praised Feustel, Murphy and Pugh. “All three of them are great role models,” she said. “They all look really comfortable on stage, like it's their home. There's so much physical comedy in this show and the audience should love their reactions to things.” She added that she's continually grateful to the community. “The community support is amazing,” McDonough stated. “They see the worth in it. It's always a pleasure to do the shows.”