Annually, around this time of year, Kearny High School’s senior actors put on a play. And, because of the hard work of all of the teen thespians, all of the money raised from ticket sales goes to the senior class for activities like the prom.
This year is no different as at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 & 7, at the Kearny High School auditorium, the seniors will put on “Just Another High School Play,” which was written by Bryan Starchman.
Kathleen Astrella, Kearny High School’s supervisor of visual and performing arts and the show’s business manager, describes this show as “a play within a play.”
“It’s about a group of high school actors, who apparently have been abandoned by their drama teacher and they have to fend for themselves opening night in front of an impatient audience,” Astrella says. “Their teacher has left them hanging because no one has been showing up to rehearsals and no one is really quite sure what they are supposed to do.
“The student assistant director and stage manager step in, find a box of scripts which they pass out to the cast, and try to throw something together. What follows is a rollicking show full of physical comedy, gags, and satirical re-writings of many plays from Shakespeare to Albee.”
Of course, that notion is hardly the case for the senior actors, who Astrella says are extremely dedicated and excited about their chance to work together. And, it’s the one and only time there are no underclass actors — everyone with a role in “Just Another High School Play” is a soon-to-be-graduating senior.
Additionally, the behind-the-scenes participants, like the stage crew, are also only seniors.
“They’ve been working very hard,” she says.
Now, aside from all in the show being seniors, just about everything else related to the show is the same as all others. Each had to try out. And it was up to Milly Gonzalez, the show’s extremely talented director and teacher at Kearny High School, to choose who got what role.
“Some have more than one part,” Gonzalez says. “These kids are very talented — and we really hope to see a nice crowd at the shows. They won’t be disappointed.”
And when folks come out to the show, here’s who they’ll see, along with the role(s) they’ll be playing:
Maria Pereira is the stage manager; Nicolle Gongora is the assistant director; Agatha Nunes plays Female Jo and Noel; Alexis Pastas plays Alexis, Barkeep and Male Amy; Alyssa Rios plays an extra, and is also the narrator and a Cop; Amaya Kelly is a Grad Student and Juliet; Ashley Ramos plays Ashley; Betsybell Sanchez is another Narrator and an Announcer; Bianca Sanchez plays Female Meg, an Announcer and a Puppeteer; Camilla Marrero is an Announcer and Narrator; Indira Ramaii plays the Drama Teacher; Jan Patino takes on the roles of Logan, Christopher Marlowe, Male Jo and Tiny Tim; Jimena is an Announcer and Puppeteer; Katherine Chalaco is an Actress, Narrator; Kayla Fitzgerald plays Plant 2, Female Lead, Emily; Madison Fadeski play Teena, Female Amy, Announcer; Michael Bradow is Craig, William Shakespeare, Male Meg and Scrooge; Nikki Martinez plays a Female Thespian, Male Beth, Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future and a Puppeteer; Stephan Mendoza is a Stagehand, Male Lead, David Copperfield, Puppeteer and a Cop; Tyler Fitzsimmons plays a Male Thespian, Hamlet, Male Beth, George and Romeo; and last, but certainly not least, Sophia Gonzalez and Jessy Hartman also have roles.
Behind the scenes, aside from the aforementioned Astrella and Gonzalez, John Bednarczyk handles the set design and lighting and David Caravella is in charge of the sound.
Now you may have noticed some of the actors are playing roles with characters of the same name. That’s because this show allows for the director to take poetic license and use unique character names — and locations that are personalized locally. It also calls for audience participation and a role for the director, too.
So who know — maybe you’ll even recognize some business names or the names of local leaders. We won’t give those away — but you’ve been prepared. And hopefully, you’ll be ready to stop by the high school this weekend to catch what promises to be exciting, funny and unique.
Tickets will be available at the door. Discounts will be available for students and senior citizens.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.