When director Bob Woelk was looking for ideas for Hillsboro High School’s spring play, he knew he didn’t want a comedy that relied too much on slapstick, and he wasn’t sure he wanted a comedy at all. At a rehearsal Friday, he said physical comedies have a tendency to run out of steam toward the end.
When he read “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick, he thought it could be a good fit. It is a comedy, but more “cerebral,” he said. Cast members liked it when they read it, so it was an easy decision to choose.
The play is set in a sanatorium, but it doesn’t go for cheap laughs by making the patients the butt of jokes, Woelk said. One of the themes of the play is that the patients in the sanatorium are in many ways more sane than those outside it.
It has a fairly small cast of 11 students. They are, seniors Abby Kliewer, Chase Meisinger, Oliwia Pytlewska, Erin Wiebe, and Molly Wiebe; juniors Riley Loewen and Daniele Melton; sophomore Allison Gray; and freshmen Preston Loewen, Madi Sheppard, and Austin Welch.
The biggest challenge has been scheduling rehearsals around other activities. Rehearsals began in January, but there have been several weeks the cast only had one rehearsal. Despite that, Woelk said it has been coming together well.
The play has a relatively simple set, with no set changes, and costuming is in 1950s-period clothing. Woelk has focused on stage direction, while technical director Dustin Dalke has worked on the set and on other aspects of the show. Lydia Kliewer has helped as a student assistant director.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the HHS auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door for $5. All seating is general admission.