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Hastings Middle School will present romantic comedy

"Who Am I This Time?" will feature a cast of 50 singers and dancers.

A community theater's shy, leading man meets the new telephone worker, and the resulting comedy is the basis for the Hastings Middle School production "Who Am I This Time?" The play, based on a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, in the school auditorium, 1000 W. 11th St.

The story is as follows:

Harry Nash (played by Joe Bigelow), a very insecure young man, searches for identity through participation in amateur theatrical productions. Harry's life is not exciting and attracts the interest of no one.

When the director, Sarah New (Elizabeth Behnke), hands him a script, however, he asks, "Who am I this time?" and on the stage he becomes the role he plays. Harry lives the role until the curtain falls. Helene (Jessica Moes) falls in love with him, but it is with the Harry who is "in character." She fights to keep him from his usual post-curtain collapse by trapping him into starting a new scene to continue off stage.

Two narrators (Amanda Peine and Caleb Schmotter) help spin the tale as John Sawyer (Ethan Heideman), the owner of the theater, tries to bring the voice of reason into the play being acted backstage as well as on-stage.

"Who Am I This Time?" was first published in the Saturday Evening Post as a short story. The short story is available in "Welcome to the Monkey House," a collection of short stories by Vonnegut.

The story was also made into an American Playhouse movie with Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon and directed by Jonathan Demme.

Story gets a different look

The Hastings production will include scenes and songs from "Fiddler on the Roof," "A Christmas Carol," "Grease" and "Shrek." A cast of 50 dancers and singers will tell the story for the audience. A unique view of the backstage set, with a reverse view of the actual production, will provide a different look at the story. Director is Dave Pattridge.

Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students. It is free for preschoolers and senior citizens. Tickets are available at the door.