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RANGELY I The Rangely High School drama club will perform Craig Sodaro’s “Crumpled Classics” this Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
The play, about high school students who write and perform modern parodies of literary classics, is pure comedy, much of it slapstick, director Cody Brunton said. Among the tales parodied are “Frankenstein,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Sherlock Holmes.”
“It’s really cheesy and funny,” RHS junior and drama club member Chelsea Ficken said. “It has classic stuff in it that has relevance to teenagers’ lives. Like the Frankenstein story is about creating the perfect guy.”
For Brunton, an English instructor, becoming the new drama teacher was a stretch. But it wasn’t altogether new, since Brunton was a drama student himself in high school.
“It’s very different being the director,” Brunton said. “But it’s been kind of a fun flip for me.”
The school district’s push to bring more fine arts to the curriculum gave Brunton the chance to teach drama instead of the American literature class he normally offers.
“I was pretty nervous going into it,” Brunton said. “At first I had no curriculum to speak of….But I’ve had zero problems with the kids, and (teaching assistant) Myriah (Moreno) has been a godsend.”
Ficken said the last class of the day is the one she looks forward to the most.
“He’s a great teacher and gets along with everyone,” Ficken said. “We always have a good time and laugh. But he’s serious when he needs to be serious and gives constructive criticism.”
Last year, Ficken would have been an unlikely student to get involved in drama. Shy and a bit introverted, she decided to challenge herself when she became Student Council co-chair this year.
“I wanted to be more outgoing in front of the people at school,” Ficken said. “So I thought (drama) would be a fun thing to do…I like being in a completely different group of people than I’m used to.”
Never having directed a cast, made costumes, or built a set, Brunton set out to find a script that didn’t have complex dress or stage requirements. He got help from a family friend who taught drama, then asked agriculture mechanics students to build the four boxes which make up the entire set.
For many of Brunton’s students, this is their first play or the first play in which they’ve had significant roles. The group is a combination of athletes and non-athletes, extroverts and quieter students. That’s not unlike the characters in “Crumpled Classics.”
“There’s one girl who’s a total bookworm, another kid who’s the main male role who misses practice to help his classmates put on the play,” Brunton said. “It’s a lot of the makeup of the actual kids, so that’s pretty cool.”
So far, the shift from American lit to drama appears to have been a good one.
“It’s a great way to end my day,” Brunton said. “I get to smile and laugh before I leave the building.”
Tickets for “Crumpled Classics” are $5 each, with a maximum family rate of $20. High school or college students with an ID pay $4, and children under four get in free.