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HHS fall play, 'The Cantorville Ghost,' has three performances planned this weekend

Alex Mohrhauser, Louisa Dillger, Krissi Mehner, Krista Gomez and Grace Bauer rehearse a scene of “The Cantorville Ghost.”

The Hastings High School fall play is planned for this weekend. In it, regular theater goers can be expected to see some new faces.

One of those new faces, Alex Mohrhauser, was one of several students who auditioned for parts some eight weeks ago. She is a senior and hadn’t been in a theater production at the school, but wanted to try something different this year.

She auditioned, then showed up several days later to check the cast list. She started at the bottom, just hoping to see her name listed as one of the supporting cast members. When she didn’t, she walked away disappointed.

A few minutes later, Mohrhauser was congratulated by a fellow cast member. It was only then that she double-checked and learned she had been cast in a lead role.

“It’s been awesome to work with this new group of students that have never done theater before,” said artistic director Robin Starch. “They’re rising to the occasion and have done a wonderful job.”

Starch said that it’s not uncommon for upperclassmen to give drama a shot.

“It happens quite a bit,” she said. “The kids, in their senior year, decide that they want to give it a try.”

Marissa Kolmer, a senior, plays one of the lead roles in the play. She has been involved in theater since second grade and loves seeing all the new faces out this fall, she said.

“The most exciting part is how many new kids we have joining the theater department for this production,” she said. “Most of our lead roles have gone to people who have never done theater before, or have only done a little bit. I think that’s very exciting.

“So far, from what I’ve seen, people have been pleasantly surprised by trying it.”

The play will be presented at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, and Saturday, Nov. 9. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 10.

The play is called “The Canterville Ghost.” The story was written by Oscar Wilde. It is adapted by Tammy Madden. The technical director for the play is Anne Blessing.

The play was chosen in part because the department hasn’t done this kind of play in the past few years.

“We try to give students, over the four years that they go through theater, the opportunity to try different types of plays,” Starch said. “They past few years, we haven’t done this kind of play – there’s a little bit of suspense and mystery (in this play).”

The play is set in an English country manor, which is haunted. An American family moves into the manor and discovers the ghost.

“There’s a little bit of comedy and there are some fun characters for the kids to create,” Starch said.

Half of the cast speaks in British accents. Making that even more complicated for the cast is that two of the cast members are foreign exchange students from Germany.

“They laughed at our English accents, but when I asked them to do an English accent, they couldn’t do it either,” Starch said with a laugh. “When they couldn’t do it, either, I figured we were fine.”

There’s a cast of 13 students in the play. In addition, there are 11 dancers and 10 students make up the tech crew.

Kolmer said the production is a fun one.

“I like the playfulness of (the play),” she said. “It has a lot of comedy in it. It makes the performance a lot of fun.”

Here is a list of the cast members:

Sir Simon – William Alongi

Virginia – Alex Mohrhauser

Duke Charles – Ben Ventry

Will – Anton Fuchs

Triplets – Allyson Kane, Liz Moe, Mac Ritchie

Aunt Elizabeth – Miranda Poncelet

Lady Canterville – Trina Walt

Mr. Otis – James McCord

Mrs. Otis – Marissa Kolmer

Lady Eleanor – Lindsey Becker

Poetry Club – Luisa Dillges, Maha Siddiqui, Grace Bauer, Krissi Mehner, Krista Gomez, Paloma Alcantar

Mr. Umney – Edgar Morfin-Brashier

Mrs. Umney – Cece Roche

Ghost Dancers – Trina Walt, Mac Ritchie, Alyssa Barchenger, Megan Vortherms, Christine Christensen, Rochell Wohlers, Katherine McCord, Juliann Stark, Cassie Vervair, Alonna Childs, Hannah Westre, Maha Siddiqui

Stage Manager – Jacob Nowlan

Tech Crew – Dharma LeMoine-Tennant, Hannah Westre, Katie Kolodziej, Brady Burkhart, T.J. Strandberg, Alonna Childs, Corey Loesch

Director – Robin Starch

Technical director - Anne Blessing

Poster design by Thomas Bonneville.