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Fall WHS theatre production opens Friday

by | Oct 4, 2023 | Education, Latest

Wylie High School Theatre students rehearse for their fall play, “Anatomy of Gray,” Tuesday, Sept. 26. Castmembers shown, from left, Nico Ghirmai, Kaleigh Wright, Casey Sands, Jacob Watson, Katie Jacobs, Cadence Carter Kacho, Canon Martin, Mikayla Razerera and Ethan Gomez. Performances will be held at the Wylie High School auditorium Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. Jeremy Hallock/The Wylie News

A few weeks after winning a prestigious Texas Education Theatre Association Award of Distinction, Wylie High School Theatre readies to roll out its fall play. 

 “Anatomy of Gray,” a coming-of-age story that explores themes of death, loss, love and healing will take the stage this weekend. 

Set in set in the rural town of Gray, Indiana in the late 19th century, the play written by Jim Leonard Jr. features a memorable cast of characters. 

The play tells the story of a teen named June, played by Katie Jacobs, who loses her father and writes a letter to God asking for her town to have a doctor so that no one will ever die again. Enter the play’s lead character, Dr. Gray, who arrives during a storm in a crashing hot air balloon. 

“I was inspired to choose this play because it offered a dramatic and design challenge to my students that I thought would be a good fit for our fall production spot,” Director of Theatre Polly Harrison said. “It’s a great mix of humor and humanity at a time when we could all use a little more of both.”

The doctor cures ailments, a bizarre love triangle begins to take shape and a mysterious plague starts to spread.

“It’s mostly a drama but it has comedic elements in it,” said Jacob Watson, who plays Dr. Gray. Owen Nunn, who plays Crutch Collins, a blacksmith, calls the doctor “an outcast.” “Yeah, we hate him,” adds Nico Ghirmai, who plays Homer Cleveland, a farmer.

The play has a cast of 25 students and 100 tried out, said Harrison, adding that “Anatomy of Gray” normally has a smaller cast.

“We expanded the ensemble of townspeople, so the actors spent a lot of time developing familial relationships,” Harrison said. “There are townspeople in the original script, but they were double cast with other roles. We made the choice to expand the cast with no doubling.” 

The students have been rehearsing for six weeks. The characters frequently break the fourth wall to address the audience, often with long passages. 

“This is, I think, the most lines we’ve ever done in a high school show,” Nunn said. “It’s a lot of pressure.”

 Fall Wylie High School Theatre productions like “Anatomy of Gray” are smaller than the musicals that are typically produced in the spring. 

“The size of musical that we historically produce is much harder than any traditional play,” Harrison said. “They each pose their challenges, but a musical has a lot more moving parts.”

“Anatomy of Gray” performances will be held at the Wylie High School auditorium Friday Oct. 6 and Saturday Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. Available exclusively at the door before each performance, tickets cost $5 for students and $10 for adults. The house opens 30 minutes prior to showtime.

By Jeremy Hallock | [email protected]

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