Freshmen, Sophomores use upcoming underclassman play as learning opportunity

Gennifer Geer, Managing Editor

Editor’s Note: “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza” will be performed at 7 p.m. Jan. 22, 25 in the Black Box Theater. Tickets available at the door. Check back later in the week for photos of the show.

The Black Box after school was feverish with student actors talking, often yelling. A pool noodle thumps on random heads as its wielder works his way around the room. Conversations range from props and lines to turtles and the color orange. No one seems to mind waiting for rehearsal to start. After all, they’ve been doing this since early December.
On January 22nd and 25th, these students’ work will pay off, as they perform this year’s underclassmen play “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza.”
According to playscripts.com, “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza” is a comedic play retelling Greek myths with “audience participation, cross-dressing, and general theatrical insanity.”
Blue Valley High’s production follows this code of funny, but with a modifying twist: the cast isn’t open to juniors or seniors.
Freshman Marie Hornung said she is excited to be performing.
“I think a lot of people underestimate this play because it’s mostly just freshmen, a few sophomores, and they don’t expect a lot from Beginning Acting kids,” she said.
Experience levels vary in the play. Being Hornung’s first play, it served as an acting milestone for her. For freshman Alexis Vance, however, “The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza” became the most recent in a resume of twelve. She said despite having a long history in theater, she still gained something from the play.
“It’s your first time working with the director [and drama teacher Jeff Yarnell] here, so it’s very much a learning experience,” Vance said.
Yarnell said he puts on an underclassmen play for that reason.
“It gives kids an opportunity to come in and see what the program’s like,” Yarnell said. “[It’s to] give them a leg up on the competition for the upcoming shows.”
Yarnell relates the underclassmen play to lower levels of sports teams.
“It’s like trying to be the point guard on the basketball team and you’re a freshman going up against a senior. You’re probably not going to beat them out even though you’re good,” he said.
Hornung said she and the actors appreciate the chance to expand on their skills.
“[The play] has vastly helped me to get better,” Hornung said. “I know how to die now.”
Hornung said other skills developed and she learned the expectations of high school productions.
Yarnell said the underclassmen play doesn’t differ from main-stage plays too much, aside from the fact it is performed in the Black Box Theater rather than the Performing Arts Center.
“They’ve got the work done,” Yarnell said. “They’ve come up with some funny things. They’re smooth. The lines are down. I think it’s going to be a fun show both Tuesday and Friday.”