The Payson High School Drama Department's production of "Addict" -- a powerful play with a serious message about drugs -- unfolds this week in the Studio Theatre on the PHS campus.
"It's about the consequences of drug use," drama assistant John Siler said. "The kids come and talk about their use of it and the price they've had to pay. It is not for the young. It is not a show to bring your 7 or 8 year old to."
Theater arts instructor Kathy Siler recommends the play for high school students, mature middle school students and, of course, the adult community at large.
"It's a serious show about drug use," she said. "It's called a two-act play, but it really is a short show -- just a little over an hour -- so we're going to play it straight through so there's no intermission."
The play features a series of vignettes highlighting the individual struggles of a variety of young people.
"These are a great cross section of people," Kathy Siler said. "They're not the dregs of the earth or derelicts. The people who use drugs in the play come from all walks of life. There's a young preppy girl from school who gets involved in methamphetamines and speed. There is a hardcore drug user named Cuda and we see his problems. It's very intense. There is a babysitter who gets hooked on acid. There is a very nice girl who grows up with parents who smoke pot and they finally get her to do it, and then she starts lacing it with PCP and she has real problems from that.
The performing students include Rachel Gibson, Amy Buckner, Ashley Eckstein, Chris Bott, Kari Taft, Carina Peters, Hillary Scott, Chelsea Wells, Jared Winebrenner and Christina Culligan.
"These are the main people in each scene, the people who are featured with a story of their own, how they got involved and why they think they're doing this and what happens to them," Kathy Siler said. "The others are what we consider ensemble members -- supporting actors or actresses in the little scenes, like the girlfriend who comes down the hallway and says, ‘Let's go to the meeting,' or the teacher who comes in and needs the list of names, or the pusher who comes in with the steroids for the boy who is trying to get more definition in the gym. Things like that."
These supporting cast members include Billy Chester, Jenni Cohen, Martin Dorris, Liz Goodale, Miko Hilgendorf, Bryan Jones, Lindsay Lashbrook, Megan Miles, Jamie Rusovick, Bekah Sandoval, Melissa Stoll, Sam Strothman, Travis Walton, Jennifer Weinland, and Rick Welker.
"Addict" was written by Jerome McDonough, whose other credits include "Dolls" and "Juvie." McDonough works closely with Texas drama teachers to develop teen-issues plays like "Addict."
The message behind the play is so important that the PHS Drama Department plans to perform it every four years.
"Addict" opens at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 10. Two other evening performances are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 13. A matinee performance will be presented at 2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12.
Tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and $2 for Renaissance card holders. Thespian card holders will be admitted free of charge.
The Studio Theatre is located directly behind the PHS auditorium on the eastern side of the campus.