Get ready for a little of this and a little of that as the Chillicothe High School Theater Department presents (seven plays in one) Paul Fleishman’s Zap, a hilarious farce that shows what might happen if live-theater and the channel-surfing of television collided. In the play, a theater company decides to present seven plays all at the same time while giving the audience the opportunity to switch through them whenever they get bored or when they want to see what is happening in another play. The result is a fast-paced and breathless romp through some of the many tropes and genres that theater has to offer. There’s an Agatha Christie-esque English Mystery, a Neil Simon-esque comedy, a Performance Art Monologue, an Avant-Garde play rather like Samuel Beckett’s best work, a Russian Play in the vein of Anton Chekhov, a Southern Play that emulates Tennessee Williams, and Shakespeare’s Richard III. The plays quickly come and go as the audience changes its mind, and the result is insane hilarity as the actors try to keep up.
The decision to perform Zap has been in director Geoffrey Smith’s mind for several years. “I first heard about the play when I attended the Broadway Teachers Workshop in New York City three years ago,” he says, “and it sounded like a lot of fun.” Upon acquiring a copy of the play, Smith was intrigued. “It had a lot of parts, a lot of genres, and was only one-act,” Smith says, “but I was never sure when it would fit our actors.” Since that time, Smith had chosen Night of the Living Dead and M*A*S*H prior to reaching for Zap again. “I think it scared me,” he says with a laugh, “I saw this fast-paced farce of a show and I wasn’t sure if our kids were ready to take on something so complex and difficult.” This year, though, he decided it was the year. “With so many strong comics in our department now, I was sure we would be able to tackle this rather challenging production.”
So many is right. Zap features a cast of 28 students across 30 roles; all very different character types in very different plays. Since it’s the annual Senior Class Play, a great number of the senior class are involved. Amongst them are: Savana Goshorn (Emmaline in the English Mystery), Dakota McGovern (Beeton the butler in the Mystery and the Prince in Richard III), Calvin King (Rev. Smythe in the Mystery), Michaela Bryant (Sammy in the Comedy), Bekah Corbin (Audrey in the Comedy), Ali Lightle (Irina in the Russian Play), Sydney Hucks (Woman in the Avant-Garde play), and Mikayla Kohl (Grandmammy in the Southern Play). “It’s been great to have such a buy-in on this play from the senior class,” Smith says, “They’ve been excited about performing in it for months.” The remaining cast members are underclassmen, some of when are performing for the very first time. With so many parts to go around, however, it was easy to involve someone from every class level. “The play really represents all the classes,” Smith says, “It gives a great cross-section of talent from all over the building and allows many of them to step out of their comfort zones.” By that he means physical comedy, accents (English, Russian, and Southern), and even the complex language of Shakespeare. The play really does have a little something for everyone, and for that reason it puts you, the audience, in charge. Make sure to bring your smartphones so you can tell the backstage crew what channel you want to watch.
Zap will be performed in the CHS/CMS auditorium March 9th and 10th at 7pm and tickets will be available online (starting Feb. 26th) and at the door both nights of the show. Tickets will be $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for students, children, and senior citizens. The show runs approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Ticket sales begine Monday, March 5th at 7 a.m. and can be purchased in person during lunches or online via this link.