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Palmerton's drama club members connect with values portrayed in play

Published March 06. 2010 09:00AM

Just because they're set to perform on their own home turf doesn't mean they won't be viewed as outcasts.

At least that's the role members of the Palmerton Area High School Drama Club will portray in the play The Outsiders.

The play will be held at 7 p.m. March 11-13 in the high school auditorium. Admission is $5 at the door.

Brent Harris, drama coach, said the theme of the play deals with the struggles between social classes that took place during the 1950s.

Harris said the story is about a group of kids labeled as "greasers" due to where they live and how they look.

He said the "greasers" are often jumped or mugged if they walk the streets alone by the "Soc's" or the rich kids, which creates a conflict as to why the struggles take place and whether or not they hold any true meaning.

Throughout the play, the two main characters, Ponyboy and Johnny Cake, bring the audience to the realization that no matter which side of town you come from, we are all the same, Harris said.

"We chose this show because the students in drama club wanted to do a performance that dealt with serious issues and had a valid message that still holds true today," Harris said. "While we tossed several other shows around, this one seemed to connect most with the club as having the strongest value."

Harris said the cast consists of 23 members that include high school students Frank "Jay" Hall; Nick Bock; Allyson Arndt; David Silverstein; Kevin Seemiller; Jill Renninger; Jenn Villa; Alex Szoke; Amy Hudock; Erika Hudock; Monica Handwerk; Lydia Anthony; and Elizabeth Hahn, and junior high students Austin Rabenold; Stephen Lewis; Domenica Stenger; Carolanne Green; Kyna Gibson; Erin Williamson; Kylee Tirado; Eliza Good; Alexandra Mammarello; and Shannon Bonser.

Harris credited the "spectacular stage crew" run by Joe Plechavy, as well as the makeup crew that helps on the nights of the show.

He said students who come to drama club on a regular basis find more than just a club.

"This is a very close group who put a lot of work into a show that only performs for three nights," Harris said. "Out of that come many different skills and qualities that these students will use throughout their lives: they learn leadership and teamwork skills; they learn to conquer any fears of public performing or speaking; they learn about the values of the show as mentioned above; and most of all, they learn how to have fun doing something they love to do."

Harris said he believes the audience will walk away from the play with a smile on their face.

"Our goal for the play is to entertain the audience, and also to have them leave their seats feeling like they've learned something from the show," he said. "The play's conclusion is very uplifting, and we hope that is has an impact with the audience."

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