WHSTE to perform “Dead On Arrival” as fall play

Sammy Keating

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Above, the Wayland High School Theater Ensemble (WHSTE) prepares for rehearsal. This year, WHSTE will be showing D.O.A. “We’ve done original plays for a number of years,” WHSTE director and dramatic arts teacher Richard Weingartner said. “That’s been part of our mandate. That’s what makes us unique from other schools because we work as playwrights as well.”

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Wayland High School Theatre Ensemble (WHSTE) will perform D.O.A., which stands for Dead On Arrival, as this year’s fall play. The production, which will show on the main stage November 13 through 16, takes a step away from what the department has done in the past. The play is an adaptation of a film, rather than an original production.

“We’ve done original plays for a number of years,” WHSTE director and dramatic arts teacher Richard Weingartner said. “That’s been part of our mandate. That’s what makes us unique from other schools because we work as playwrights as well.”

This play is based off of a 1950s black and white crime film noir. Weingartner says that the department’s adaptation changes how the story is told, and that they are also adding characters to give it more of a modern edge.

Weingartner also noted that the theatre adaptation keeps some of the action thriller elements of the film, which he claims are less common in theatre.

“As they go through evidence, the story of the murder appears on stage. It’s pretty cool,” junior and cast member Tommy Lewis said.

In D.O.A., two FBI agents track down evidence of Russians spies and paranormal activity that happened 20 years earlier, and they uncover a series of sinister activity, mystery and intrigue.

“It’s a combination of a mystery, a love story, and a chase of a man who is literally running for his life. However, the story is retold by these FBI agents who discover that this is an unsolved case,” Weingartner said.

Last year, WHSTE performed “Voices from the Fire,” a drama. Weingartner turned to his senior actors in choosing this year’s play, and they chose a comedy.

“This is going to the opposite end,” Weingartner said. “We loved doing ‘Voices from the Fire,’ but also as actors you need to find that comedy, which is almost harder to do.”

The play features 42 characters and cast members from all different grades.

“I thought people were really right there, up front and ready to rip,” Weingartner said of auditions. “That’s what is so unique to the people who came out, especially a lot of the freshmen. There wasn’t anybody who held back.”

Lewis is anxious and excited for the upcoming play, which is estimated to last an hour and a half.

“It’ll be fun, but also be a tough few months to get to a final production,” he said.

D.O.A. cast list:
Agent Kent – Liam Fay
Agent Reynolds – Melissa Smith
Frank Bigelow – Nick Hebert
Paula Gibbson – Tori Gitten
Steve Halliday – Isaac Greenawalt
Eugene Phillips – Thomas Leacu
Ms. Foster – Allee Pineault
Majak – David Coutu
Chester – Tommy Lewis
Gun Moll – Megan O’Keeffe
Henchman – Jack Case
Marla – Erika Moran
Stella Phillips – Julia Terranova
Mrs. Phillips – Isabel Pongratz
Emcee/Singer (Johnny Castle) – Jack Case
Night Club Singers (Triplettes) – Sophia Calder, Isabel Pongratz, Catriona Oliver
Night Club Dancers (Hullabaloo Dancers) – Veronika Golod, Clara Lagor, Clare Lippincott, Anna Marabella, Andrea Ponce
Jeanie – Cashen Conroy
Businessmen – Sawyer Foster, Thomas Leacu, Tommy Lewis, Sten Shearer
Fashion Buyers – Katie Cundari, Naiya Davis, Tachianna Griffiths, Larissa Sehringer, Megan Wohlfarth
Bellhop – Jackson DiIanni
Dr. Beaker – Sawyer Foster
Nurse – Cashen Conroy
Cab Driver – Sten Shearer
Cops – Jackson DiIanni, Sawyer Foster, Thomas Leacu

EDITOR’S NOTE: It was previously published that the fall play would be showing from November 15 to November 17, but it is, in fact, showing November 13 through 16. We apologize for the confusion.