Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Teachers at Notre Dame High School have all suffered a mental breakdown and have been institutionalized — or at least, that’s the plot of next weekend’s fundraiser play, “Who’s Crazy Now?” performed by the Notre Dame Drama Club.
Every year, the Notre Dame Drama Club performs a play at the Frank S. Duncan Memorial Theater, to raise money for the drama club program and the Sister Dympna Skelley Scholarship. Skelley was a former latin teacher at Notre Dame, and to be eligible for the scholarship students must be participating in either foreign language studies or drama club programs.
This is the 10th year the Notre Dame Drama Club has performed their fundraiser play. In previous years the drama club has performed comedic mysteries, but this year’s play, “Who’s Crazy Now?” is a satirical comedy that gives students an opportunity to poke fun at Notre Dame teachers.
Written by Gerard Bell, and purchased through the Samuel French Company, the play is about a young woman (played by freshman Jayla Bowling) who wants to be a teacher, but her uncle (played by sophomore Colin Haskins) runs the asylum and brings her there to show her what becomes of teachers, hoping that she will change her mind.
“This is a unique play. I’ve never directed one like this before,” said Drama Club Teacher Sandi Davis. “This one is a little more tailored to Notre Dame teachers. It takes place in an insane asylum in the wing that is dedicated to people who were teachers or dedicated to education somehow. So we have named the teachers after the teachers at school and we’ve given some of the teachers’ mannerisms to the characters.”
She said the teachers at Notre Dame all loved the idea of students playing them on-stage. Junior Leigha Craig plays art teacher Anissa Harr, and Emma Sand is playing Notre Dame High School Kathy Milligan.
“I’ve picked up the way that she walks and the way she talks, and the way she crosses her legs. Her favorite color is purple, so I’m wearing this really purple suit and I’m borrowing one her watches to wear,” Sand said.
Davis herself is played by Notre Dame Junior Hannah Cassidy.
“As I was sitting in rehearsal the other day, I sitting in my chair and I had my hands crossed and my fingers laced together over my knee. I was watching, and Hannah Cassidy came on stage and she was sitting down, and she laced her fingers on her knees and put them down. And I looked down at myself and she was doing exactly what I was doing, I thought ‘Oh my, she has me down!’ It’s really interesting. I believe that part of the play is going to appeal to the Notre Dame community,” Davis said, laughing at her idiosyncrasies.
Cassidy said it’s fun playing the director on-stage.
“She already knows that she thinks she’s crazy, so it’s really fun just to act like her,” Cassidy said. “She always emphasises on our papers that we use quotes and stuff, so you’ll hear me a lot saying ’ don’t forget your quotes’.”
With 17 members, Davis said this year’s cast was the largest they have ever had.
“It would be an overwhelming task to do this on my own. It’s not something that’s just made up of the actors and the director, there is a lot of work involved in the community,” Davis said.
The Notre Dame Drama Club will present their performance of “Who’s Crazy Now?” at the Frank S. Duncan Memorial Theater, on the seventh floor of the Masonic Temple building on Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth, at 7 p.m. on March 22 and 23. Door will open at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale at Notre Dame High School for $10 each, or $5 each for students. Tickets will also be available at the door, but Davis warns seating is limited and usually sells out quickly.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.