BRISTOL - Bristol Eastern High School students rehearsed enthusiastically for their upcoming performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” this Friday. The play offers a comedy- and music-filled dramatization of a local spelling contest.
The play will be performed May 5 at 7 p.m. and May 6 at 2 and 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the school at 632 King St.
The show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the bee, run by three equally quirky grownups. There will also be an element of audience participation as four guest spellers are recruited at the door.
Junior Valerie Bush will play Marcy Park.
“This play was pretty well cast - I’m basically her already,” said Bush. “She never wants to be wrong and she eventually starts to snap when she realizes that she doesn’t want to live up to people’s expectations and gives wrong answers on purpose. She starts off pretty mean but then gets really excited to be losing. She’s definitely fun to play.”
Fiona Pare, another junior, plays Rona Lisa Peretti.
“Rona is the host of the spelling bee, which she won during its third year,” explained Pare. “She is very enthusiastic and excited because winning the spelling bee was basically her high point in life. I get to act with authority including breaking up a fight. I love playing this part. I am Rona.”
Junior Elison Szymanski will portray Leaf Coneybear.
“He’s a goofball,” said Szymanski. “He came in third in his regional spelling bee and only got to participate because the first and second place winners dropped out. He enjoys making friends; he’s not in it for the competition. He loves to make jokes and get everyone laughing.”
Alex Mika, also a junior, will play the school’s vice principal, Douglas Panch.
“He’s the one who reads off the words and gives examples,” explained Mika. “With everything he does, he’s trying to impress Rona. He’s an oaf and he has a really awkward personality. When preparing for this role it was fun to stoop to his level and think as he thinks.”
The play is based on a book by Rachel Sheinkin with music and lyrics by William Finn.
Tickets are available at the door and are $8 for students, $10 for seniors and school staff and $12 for general admission.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.