“This is the 13th play I’ve directed for SPASH, it is 2013, the show is ‘13 Past Midnight’ and 13 is my favorite number,” said director Pam Lutz. “Every play I direct has a good moral or a fun quirk.”
Characters cast in the play are sophomores, juniors and seniors at SPASH, some of whom have never acted in a performance before – musical or drama – and others who have been in more than 10 previous shows.
Students involved do not get credit for being a part of the show; they do it on their own time because they enjoy performing.
“We have been rehearsing since the second week of school – Monday through Thursday – but now that it is getting closer to the performance, we’re practicing five days a week,” Lutz said. “These kids work all day and are all overachievers; they’re in student senate, key club, French club stay here all night and do homework…they’re incredible kids.”
“I enjoy the social aspect of theater; I got involved as an escape from school,” said Dan O’Donnell, who plays Victor Winslow. “I typically play comedy roles so this show has taught me a lot about how to do serious acting.”
The comedic murder mystery runs approximately two hours with a 20-minute intermission and is child appropriate.
“Every play I direct is theirs – it is about them, their talent and about having fun – we come together and form a bond and production that is theirs,” Lutz said. “I just coordinate their efforts with the vision I have in the beginning and guide them into it using their skills.”
Lutz said the kids also learn a great deal about acting from each other in practice.
“I can tell if someone is a sophomore but I can’t tell if they’ve been in plays in junior high or in the community or not,” said senior Elizabeth Lovejoy, who plays Eve Fulton. “We’re all on the same level.”
SPASH students are not only the actors but also the ones who are responsible for running the entire performance; everything from curtain calls to lights and sound, the students do it all.
“If I’ve done my job correctly on opening night I will sit at the back and they will run the show,” Lutz said.
The show follows Winslow who brings together his guests to help him develop a Clue-like murder mystery game. However, before any planning can start, he gives each of his guests motive to kill him and someone decides to follow through. The play becomes a “who-done-it” as a private investigator tries to find out who killed Winslow before the murderer kills again.
“My favorite part is the surprise ending,” Lutz said. “When I read the script I didn’t get that from reading it and that is why I chose it; I think the audience will really enjoy it.”
The show will be performed at SPASH at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 7-9, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.