KEARNEY — High School Theatre students in Kearney are getting interactive with audience members this week with their version of the comedy, murder mystery “Clue On Stage.” Performances will serve as the grand opening of Kearney High School’s Black Box Theatre, located at 715 E. 19th St.
“It’s been a lot of fun for the kids. It’s a smaller space than the auditorium so it’s giving them a different experience,” said teacher and Director Wendy Fish. “We wanted something with a smaller cast and feel than the fall musical, which typically has more. There are 20 total here in cast and crew. … It’s fun because in the smaller space the students can get more interactive with audience. You will see them walking through the audience, handing them things and that sort of thing.”
While tickets were only available in advance, unlike auditorium performances that allow ticket sales at the door, all shows for Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 27 to 29, sold out.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done something like this,” said Tess Martens, who plays Mrs. White. “Everyday we are learning something new about figuring the space out and when and how you can take it to that next level for the audience. I’m just so excited for people to see it.”
Eliana Walker, whose comedic timing, gesturing and accents has her playing Cook, said the spring play cast has becomes like a family as it learned to navigate the new, more intimate space the Black Box Theatre provides.
“Everyone is together. We are all trying this new thing and putting this new show together and are so close to the audience that it’s going to be really fun,” she said.
“It’s different. It’s cramped, but the equipment is much nicer and easier for me to handle,” said sophomore technical crew member Megan Lewis of what it is like producing a show in the Black Box Theatre as opposed to the auditorium.
“We’ve had some struggles because no one knows how to use it, but it’s been a great learning experience for all of us. After we figured it all out, it’s been really nice,” said fellow technical crew member and sophomore Grace Heath.
Madison Pope, a veteran of the auditorium stage, said she has enjoyed developing her character, Miss Scarlet and can’t wait to share it in the stripped down atmosphere.
“The script has her as something different than what we made her. We’ve created kind of a new character for her from what people know of. She’s a dramatic actress, so I get to take my own experiences and double them by about a 1,000. The interactive experience with the show has been really, really cool,” she said. “It’s really different because there are people all around you so you have to get that usual stage positioning out of your mind. It’s been awesome and a really amazing experience.”