A play that offers both drama and comedy, "I Remember Mama," will be presented later this week through the talents of Wallenpaupack Area High School students.
Based on a Norwegian immigrant family in 1910, the Hanson family's eldest daughter writes a book about her family. Drama teacher, Alison Hoffman says the play goes through the, "silly quirks," of the family and looks at some of the family's struggles as an immigrant family in 1910.
Seniors and the show's leads, Marissa Rossitto and Morgan Miller have acted together before, and both students say they are excited. Rossitto, who has plans to pursue acting after she graduates, says she is pleased with her role as Marta because she enjoys playing a motherly figure.
Since a show like, "I Remember Mama," hasn't been produced in the school for awhile, to prepare, the students have studied their characters' backgrounds by looking at features that include accents. Miller says she enjoys playing characters that have a strong connection with others. As Katrin, she has a connection with everyone because she grew up with the characters. But, a challenge to her role is that she narrates the entire show and she is in many of the scenes.
Through the years, the students have worked together, even playing a mother and daughter. When the students first started in the plays, they were part of the ensembles, which were good, Rossitto says because they had freedoms to create their own characters. But now, depending on given circumstances, they have some limitations. As members of ensembles, Rossitto says that experience set them up to tackle larger roles. Miller adds that while in the ensembles, they developed character profiles that helps them today.
Rossitto is facing a new challenge however, she says, because she has never had such a large role in a fall production, where it is primarily straight acting without singing and dancing. With many lines, Rossitto will also delegate responsibilities to her children. Because she has to give the actors directions, Rossitto is worried she may ruin a scene.
With the show having both drama and comedy, Rossitto says she has to remember that her performance has to, "walk the fun line," throughout the production. Now that she has memorized her lines and some acting techniques, the hard part, she says is putting it all together to make the show, "look awesome."
For Rossitto, simply, she says the best part of participating in drama is, "performing." While performing on stage, the creative freedoms and the rush of energy that she gets, makes for a "thrilling experience," she adds.
As for Miller, she too greatly enjoys performing, but also the overall experience from start to finish, "until you get a perfect picture show." Being able to be in someone else's shoes, Miller likes and she thinks that is part of why she wants to work in the sociology field.
Page 2 of 2 - Theater, Rossitto says, can relate to all careers and by participating in the production of plays, later on, it will help students.
"I Remember Mama," will be presented in the Black Box Theater at the High School, which Rossitto says has "a special homey feeling that you can't beat." In the Back Box, Rossitto says students learn to like one another because of the smaller space. By working so closely with others, she says students prepare for their spring musical, which will be special this year, because students will be "flying in the air."
Aside from everyone working well together and producing good plays, Rossitto says everything works because the WAHS players are, "a very special group of people who strive to put on the best show we possibly can." Calling Hoffman a, "fantastic director," she adds the students go through a, "very intense and rigorous process," that ultimately leads to a fun experience.
Performances of "I Remember Mama," will occur November 21st, 22st, 23rd at 7 p.m. and November 24 at 2 p.m. in the Black Box. Reservations are not needed.
See the photo galleries online for some photos of the students rehearsing.