Laura Perham plays a super hero in the Payson Drama Club production of "May the Farce Be With You," which begins a three-day run Thursday evening in the Payson High School auditorium.
How appropriate for a young lady who is into so many things that she has to have super powers to keep up with them all. Besides drama, the PHS senior is a cheerleader, is in student government and is a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club.
Then there's her involvement in ACTS (for A Cross to Share), an interdenominational Christian acting troupe that engages in such Herculean endeavors as street witnessing sharing their gospel in a public forum on Tempe's Mill Ave.
"Actually, we got a mixed reaction," Perham said. "Some people came up and said, 'What you're doing is really cool.' Others were like, 'Hey, this is our place.'"
But Perham would rather talk about the upcoming play. "'May the Farce be with You' is a spoof of different super hero movies and cartoons," she explained.
"All these super heroes come together and have a convention once a year, and this bad guy, a takeoff on Darth Vader, comes in and realizes this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of all the crimefighters at the same time. He takes away their super powers and plans to permanently turn them back into their normal persons."
For Astarte, the super hero character that Perham plays, that would be Hyra Gliffix, "a trashy, gum-chewing, lower-class museum curator from New York."
And in what must be the ultimate twist of fate, Perham's younger brother Randy, a PHS sophomore, plays the villain, Star Raider.
In the final analysis the key to the play, Perham says, is that people aren't always what they seem. "You can't count anybody out."
If it seems Perham is unusually centered for one so young, consider that she has been acting since first grade. Her credits include "Annie," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Crimes at the Old Brewery," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Don't Rock the Boat," and "Addict."
And considering what it has done for her, it's not surprising Perham wants to major in acting in college. "In my sophomore year, I was really shy and quiet," she recalled. "Now I like to get up and talk all I can.
"You get to be a whole new person. One day you're the heroine, the next you're the villain.
Hmmmm. And she said it herself: "People aren't always what they seem."
In addition to Laura and Randy, the cast includes Megan Lower, Daniel Jacobs, Daniel Kitchen, Ashley Dryer, Nicole Cahill, Heather Schneider, Ryan Hilgendorf, Cassandra Miles, Joe Johnson Jr., and Shannon Meinerts. PHS drama teacher John Siler directs, with Kathy Siler serving as technical director.
Hmmmm. And she also said, "You can't count anybody out."
The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, while Friday's performance is a 2 p.m. afternoon matinee. Tickets, which can be purchased at the door, are $3 for adults, $2 for students and $1 for Renaissance cardholders. Children under first grade are free.
You can go with Star Raider if you like. You can even put your money on the maids. But there was something about the way she said, "One day you're the heroine, the next you're the villain," that makes me think there's more to Astarte than meets the eye.
Remember, this young lady has been acting since she was in the first grade. And who ever heard of a trashy museum curator? And doesn't the younger brother always get blamed for everything?
I say it was Astarte in the parlor with the rope.