Members of the Thomson High School Competition Drama class will give two public showings of this year's play, Beyond Tolerance.
The students will present the thought-provoking play Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the high school, and Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Monroe Kimbrell Gardens behind the Watson Brown Foundation on Tom Watson Way.
"The play is a comedic look at what would happen if we did not have moral education," said Kelly Flanders, THS drama teacher. The production includes some sharp humor, but the underlying message is serious, she added.
Mrs. Flanders is looking forward to offering the one-act play to the Thomson community before heading to regional competition in Statesboro Oct. 27.
Solid acting and efficient behind-the-scenes support have made this production one of the best ever, she said.
"This has been a phenomenal class to work with. They are excited, enthusiastic and fun on stage," she said.
Mrs. Flanders credits two students with making this year's productions top notch: Stage Manager Katie Reeves and John Spears who has worked diligently back stage.
"They have been amazingly wonderful," Mrs. Flanders said. "John has been at every rehearsal, and designed and built the set," she said of the senior. In addition, Katie, a junior, has done an excellent job managing the production.
It was a challenge to balance the job of manager with other obligations, but the effort was worthwhile and the play presents an important look at "what's right and what's wrong," Katie said.
"It's a very unusual play, and contains a lot of moral values," she said. "We are all very excited about the regional competition. Everyone is willing to work - they are always there."
Kimberly Lansdell plays a lead role as P.T. Burnem, the head mistress of a school who forces her particular agenda onto the students.
"She is very conniving," said Kimberly of her character. "But she puts on a fažßade to make herself appealing," the junior added.
Kimberly has embraced the role, enjoying the opportunity "to play a different type of character."
Also in a lead role is junior Alana Long who plays Gracious Mary Sensible, a nažØve but well-grounded student who must weigh the values she learned at home against what she finds at school.
The cast also includes, for the first time, several freshmen. Mrs. Flanders visited the middle school last year to generate interest in the Competition Drama course, and several tried out and joined the class. Following the regional competition, cast members will present the play to Thomson middle schoolers Nov. 1.
Two other productions should help prepare the cast for the annual regional contest at Georgia Southern University. Thomson students will present the play Oct. 8 at Harlem High School where the school's drama director, Roy Lewis, helps young actors from across the area polish their work. In addition, the Thomson students will participate in a theater festival Oct. 14 in Gainesville, Ga.