Imaginary Friends And Perplexed Lovers Take Center Stage



Senior-Directed One-Act plays are live at the Studio Theatre this week.

Performances for "Playground," directed by Silas Eckstein; "The Importance of Being Earnest," directed by Jennifer Sandoval; and "Sex Lives of Superheroes," directed by Jessalyn Carpino are Dec. 12 through 15.


‘The Importance of being Earnest' is a high school theater tradition and is part of the student-directed series at PHS.

The Payson High School drama students have been in full practice mode since mid-November.

"There are 11 school days left to rehearse. Get out your scripts and use all the props in rehearsal," teacher Kathy Siler told her charges on Nov. 19.

"Players in period costume rehearse in shoes. Rehearse in costume because you need to know how to move in those costumes," she added.


Jason (played by Jared Carpino) is new to his school and keeps to himself so he invents "Big John" to be his friend in "Playground."

"Big John is an interesting character to play because he is kind of like me -- he bounces around and he never takes anything seriously and he like to role play," said PHS sophomore Tucker Hayes.

Senior-Directed One-Act Plays7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 127:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 134 p.m., Friday, Dec. 147:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15Box office:$5 adults$4 students$4 seniors$3 people with Longhorn Pride cards

Where Jason clearly feels bad when he accuses his dad of not listening, Big John is 100 percent hyperactive.

"Big John has no feeling, no emotion," Hayes said.

When Jason tells his imaginary friend, ‘you aren't listening either,' Big John simply pauses for a moment then changes the subject.

"The Importance of being Earnest"

There is no Earnest in the classic romantic comedy, "The Importance of Being Earnest."

"My character, Cecily Cardew wants to fall in love with someone named Earnest," Julie Legassie said.

So, in the "twisted, humorous love story," a young man named Algernon Moncrieff, played by Connor Tierney, pretends his name is Earnest.

The play is set in the English high society of the 1890s.

"It is a challenge trying to act like they did in those proper days, dressing nice and being completely polite to everyone," Tierney said.

"Sex Lives of Superheroes"


Performances for "Playground," directed by Silas Eckstein; "The Importance of Being Earnest," directed by Jennifer Sandoval; and "Sex Lives of Superheroes," directed by Jessalyn Carpino are Dec. 12 through 15.

Payson High School senior and first time director Jesse Carpino was excited to take her cast for "Sex Lives of Superheroes" to the Arizona State Thespian Conference in November.

Now the play has come home to the Studio Theatre.

"The play is a cute, little love story, a clever comedy and I like it a lot," Jessalyn Carpino said.

Michael (played by Zach Horsley) is obsessed with his ex-girlfriend Lisa (played by Hayley Scott) and comic books. The plot thickens when Michael's shrink sets him up on a blind date with Eleanor (played by Sabrina Brahm).

New rules, for the 2007 conference, dictated that students first needed to perform competition plays in front of an audience, so the drama department staged a free performance a month ago.

"I think (the judges think), that if you are ready to perform for the public, you are ready to perform for the judges," Carpino said.

The play earned an "excellent" rating at the conference, just under "superior," the top rating.

"When the judges talked to us, they talked about how we worked the audience well, but we needed to work on the blocking to make it more exciting," Superheroes' director, Jesse Carpino said.

"We were going for big characters and the judges thought it might have been more entertaining if the characters were more human," she added.

Carpino was a junior this past school year when she was assistant director for "Donovan's Daughters."

Now, the buck stops with her. She has learned the arts of compromise and patience.

"I have an extreme understanding of how much work truly goes into a production," she said.

"I have learned to put my foot on the ground and have it sound like constructive criticism, when I want the actors to do something," she added.

"Sex Lives of Superheroes" is a PG-13 play for some adult humor. This will be performed after intermission to allow children to leave.

The Studio Theatre is located on the Payson High School campus, behind the auditorium.

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