News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Features

October 25, 2012

Drama Club production spells laughter for audiences

TERRE HAUTE — Six quirky characters combat adolescent angst in their quest to be the last speller standing in the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” 

The musical comedy, winner of two Tony Awards, is being presented by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Drama Club at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Nov. 1-3 in Hatfield Hall Theater.

The pressure is on when this group of six spellers go head-to-head for the prestigious county-wide championship. Each student has his or her own set of issues, from speech impediments to overbearing parents, with one speller relying on his “magic foot” to see him through and another going into a trance before each turn.

Although the musical is set in a middle school, explains Bunny Nash, director of Student Productions, patrons should consider the content to be rated PG-13. Laced with a few profanities and some adult humor, this spelling bee isn’t suitable for younger audiences.

In a unique twist, cast members will be joined on stage by four audience members who’ve been invited to participate as if they, too, were vying for the championship, resulting in a hilarious interactive component.

Senior biology major Alex Cochrane plays Chip Tolentino, Boy Scout, crowd favorite and previous bee champion who has returned to defend his title. This is the 10th drama club production for Cochrane, a Bloomfield native who has also acted at the Shawnee Theater.

“I think I’ve done every show since I got here,” Cochrane says.

Asked how he got the role of Chip, the pre-med student relates, “I sang a Negro spiritual from the show ‘Hairspray’ and it was very high, a wailing thing and they were like ‘Oh we know where we’re going to put you.’” 

Nash thought that Cochrane would be perfect for the part of Chip, whose angst-ridden lament after a humiliating puberty-assisted early elimination bemoans his subsequent embarrassment and bitterness at being relegated to selling bake-sale snacks.

“This is the first time I’ve had to portray someone 12 or 13 years old,” Cochrane explains. “I really like trying to portray a younger character” as opposed to the adult characters he’s most often played.

Newcomer Samantha Staszak of San Diego, Calif., plays the role of stereotypical Asian overachiever Marcy Park. Pushed to succeed by her parents, Marcy is a recent transfer to the area who placed ninth in last year’s National Spelling Bee.

“I like to think that deep down inside she wants to be accepted by people,” the freshman says of her character, “but, she thinks being accepted means she has to be the best.”

Staszak, a software engineering and computer science major, may not be a national spelling champion like Marcy, but her vocal talent earned her a place on the National High School Honor Choir.

“Last February I sang in Carnegie Hall. It was the most incredible thing I’ve done in my life,” she says. Staszak adds that she and other choir members were so overwhelmed by the experience that during their last song, “We all just started crying.”

Now at Rose-Hulman, she is enjoying her first drama club production.

“I like that it has a lot of quirkiness. All the characters are really different but they’re all kind of brought together by what they’re doing,” she adds. “It’s like a really weird coming-of-age tale for fifth-graders.”

Nash adds that although the characters are quirky, they’re also relatable. “When we did the read through the kids recognized themselves in some of the characters. I recognized all of the personalities of these kids either from when my own kids were growing up, or with Rose-Hulman students … how competitive they can be and how funny that can be.”

Show Information

What: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

When: runs Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m.

Where:Hatfield Hall Theater

Tickets: $15 for adults and $10 for students/youth. This production contains adult language and mature themes. An equivalent movie rating would be PG-13. Advance tickets may be purchased by calling the Hatfield Hall ticket desk at (812) 877-8544, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Specific show information is available at hatfieldhall.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel 98-Year-Old Woman Left in Parked Truck Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Fighting Rages Amid Mideast Truce Push Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Secretary of State Kerry in Israel Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity