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The Suburbanite
  • ‘Parents’ brings comedic change to Manchester stage

  • Manchester HIgh School will present its fall stage production of the comedy "Parents" on Friday and Saturday.

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  • When first-time head director Justin Elder announced the script selection for the Manchester High School Drama Club's Fall 2013 play he received an unexpected response.
    “I think everybody was thrilled that it wasn't a murder mystery,” senior cast member Victoria Wamsley said.
    For the past three years, Elder has assistant produced the school's fall productions, each with a decidedly mystery-based plot.
    “Last year, when we started planning, I got equal parts 'not a murder-mystery' and 'comedy, comedy comedy,'” Elder said. “I told them comedy can be tough.”
    The resulting selection, Bryan Starchman's “Parents Just Don't Understand,” will have its Manchester High School debut at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 and 2 p.m. Nov. 3.
    The Nov. 2 performance will also include a 1 p.m. chicken dinner. p.m.
    Paced as “live scrapbook,” Elder said the play recounts the greatest, funniest and most awkward of family memories. Set up as 10 individual vignettes, “Parents” also allows each member of the cast to play widely differing roles.
    “It has everything from a mom embarrassing her son while clothes shopping, to a dad teaching his daughter to drive and majorly freaking out,” Elder said.
    Senior Amy Fox said that while the scenes are somewhat exaggerated for comedic effect, some moments come fairly close to real life. He co-star, senior Mackenzie Bower, could not agree more.
    “When the mom sends the daughter to the basement – yeah, that is pretty accurate,” Bower said.
    During one scene in particular, that script accuracy becomes somewhat ironic for junior Russell Andrus.
     “Amy is my daughter and I am teaching her to drive,” Andrus said. “And I actually just got my license. My parents don't think I'm such a great driver.“
    Junior Brennan Angle has “(portrayed) a dad before.” In “Parents,” Angle's patriarchal experience pays off in the most decidedly challenging way.
    “I give 'the talk',” Angle said.
    Elder said the fact that the play gives the 18-member cast the “outside the box” experience of playing both kids and parents is its greatest attribute. The cast members themselves complimented Elder in his abilities to draw the sometimes daunting aspects of the script out of them.
    “He has always been good at comedy and delivering a line for comedic effect – the timing,” said senior Sarah Hercules. “Some of the aspects (of the script) are the same things that have happened in your own life, but it is different to be sort of looking onto it.”
    And while she lamented the lack of males to portray all the male roles in the script, Fox said the end result will be an audience “passing out from lack of oxygen from laughing.”