Seventeen cast members performed a madcap comedy that combined elements of farce, time travel, and a good, old-fashioned whodunit, with Sherlock Holmes on hand to restore order at the Freudley Institute, where mental patients suffering from grandiose delusions imagine themselves to be famous (and infamous) figures from history and fantasy, and none of them exactly what or who they seem to be.
The 90-minute production had two acts with three scenes each, broken up by a short intermission. Students made up all of the cast and much of the crew, and most are currently enrolled in the Gobles High School drama class, although some took the class last year.
Freshman Jamie Owens played the lead role as Sherlock Holmes, with sophomore Roberto Soto playing his sidekick Dr. John Watson. The entire cast was very strong, with laughs especially coming from the ape-like antics of Tarzan (Sam Loomis), the politics of a flustered George Washington (Dominick Fisher), a flirty Marilyn Monroe (Carlie Hancox), and the kind, dreamy monarchy of Queen Victoria, played by Carolena Brockway.
Last school year Gobles High School began offering a drama class as an elective to students, and this year enough students had studied and participated in class productions to allow drama teacher Aline Kosiara to assemble a cast for a production opened to the public.
Approximately 350 people attended the two performances, and each show ended with the audience on its feet, applauding the great performances from all the cast members, and the quality of a production far more polished than many expected from a theater program just coming back from hiatus.
Celeste Moerman was hand both nights to watch her daughter, freshman Haven Moerman, play the role of Lizzie Borden. Moerman said the play was everything she hoped it would be, and more.
“The play was a smashing success,” said Moerman. “The kids lit up the stage. It was so fun to watch the students bring their characters to life. Bravo to the cast and crew. It was truly outstanding.”
Senior drama students Katlynn Brink and Emma Harbaugh served as both cast members and student directors for the production, with Brink playing the role of Inspector Lestrade and Harbaugh playing Dr. Sidney Freudley, the psychologist responsible for the institute where patients and mayhem run amok.
Harbaugh called her experience in drama class and on this production one of the most important things she’s done in her time at Gobles High School.
“Hearing the response and the laughter from the audience during our performances is something I will never forget,” said Harbaugh. “The cast put so much effort into a show we wanted our friends and families to love. And we couldn’t have done it without our drama teacher. Ms. K supported us but demanded excellence, and that got us to a production that would not have been possible without both support and high expectations.”
As Harbaugh heads off to Adrian College next year, she will keep her eyes on her friends back in the Gobles High School drama program.
“I am so glad I was able to be part of a production that will lead to more opportunities for theater students in Gobles,” said Harbaugh . “We had a young cast for this first show. Keep your eyes on the drama program. Now that students have had the experience, you can bet there will be some great performances in the coming years. I know I’ll come back and watch the Gobles drama program shine.”
Kosiara is already looking to future productions, thinking the drama program will soon be able to put on two performances per year.
“Ideally I would like to have a production for the community during the Christmas season, and then one in the spring,” said Kosiara. “We certainly have some talented kids who have shown they can put on a great production. And when kids are willing to commit and work hard, I think they’ve shown that the sky is the limit, and the school district and community are ready to support them and cheer them on.”
Contributing Writer: Corey Harbaugh