Dimond High Troupe Takes Locally Written Play to Major Festival
All the world's a stage, including Anchorage and Scotland
ANCHORAGE - “The Scottish play” is how superstitious theater people refer to Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” because of a supposed curse.
But for Dimond High School students, who are taking a locally written play to Scotland for four performances, the drama they're presenting is a blessing.
Anchorage playwright P. Shane Mitchell has had his shows performed across the United States, but the August production of "The Cactus Gulch Opry House" in Edinburgh, Scotland, might be a first.
"To the best of my knowledge, this is my first international credit. It's hard to know because when you have a published play, they just send you the check; you never know where it was produced."
The play was written for five Dimond High School students who committed to taking it to the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Mitchell’s piece consists of plays within a play, depicting a traveling theater troupe offering slices of 19th century Americana.
Said student actress Mari-Celia Tavoliero: "We think we're so prestigious but we're really down on our luck. And we perform for this hick town and this mayor and his assistant, and it's just a lot of fun."
Mitchell describes the elements as "a puppet show, an audience participation show, a traditional drama with a wrap-around. It was really fun to write, really fun to create, specifically because I knew who the cast was."
"It shows many different forms of comedy,” said the director, Wilma Keller. Keller says an audience participation segment in the play has kept her young actors on their toes.
"They have to really develop their improv skills. Improv is hard. And so each time we put on one of these little shows, they learn a little something."
One observer who got pulled into the show was complimentary.
"The kids were great,” said Nuri Johnson. “They did a very nice job. A very nice job."
The Dimond troupe has six more performances locally before they're Scotland-bound.
The play will be performed Monday night through Wednesday night at Anchorage Community Theatre, and Thursday and Friday at Grant Hall on the Alaska Pacific University campus.
The Dimond students also will reprise their downtown outdoor performance in Peratrovich Park at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
They leave for Scotland on July 29.