Elk Lake drama students are having a ‘Yard Sale’ but not the kind where you have to spend lots of money.
This is their spring play and you need to be prepared for a few laughs.
‘Yard Sale’ tells the story of a Mona Babbington and her efforts to save her home, an old Victorian mansion. Mona and the property have fallen on hard times, and she now uses it as rooming house for rambunctious college students.
With the help of her nephew and niece, Mona struggles to pay off her debts to keep the house from being razed. Unfortunately Silias Price has his eye on the house, wanting to turn it into a parking lot.
To raise money, the students decide to sell all the junk in the old house at a yard sale. But complications occur when some of the more eccentric residents get into the act.
For example, young scientist Calvin Gregg has invented a weird gas that causes victims to revert to childhood, and the government is very interested. Judy Linseed dresses in battle gear because she’s convinced space aliens are plotting to seize the nearby university.
Faculty adviser Ina Bradish said that ‘Yard Sale’ features about 25 students.
Her biggest challenge she faced, Bradish said, was a snow storm which roared through the area in mid-March.
“We lost three days of rehearsal,” Bradish said. “We also lost crew work which would have been done on the weekend.”
Fortunately, the cast has their lines and parts down, and Bradish is confident that everything will be fine during the performances.
‘Yard Sale’ features two female leads - Mona Babbington and her niece Ann. It’s unusual for a production to have two female leads, Bradish explained. But reading the play amused her, and she decided area residents would enjoy it as well.
“If I don’t laugh at it, I don’t do it,” Bradish explained. “It it entertains me, then I’m certain it will entertain everyone else.
She said she has seen an influx of male performers over the last few years, which has proved a little unusual.
“Over the past three or four years I’ve had enough boys, but not enough girls,” she said with a laugh.
Bradish said she favors comedies because that’s what people like to see.
“One year I did ‘Little Women,’” Bradish said. And while everyone did a fine job, it did not go over well.”
Portraying Mona Babbington in ‘Yard Sale’ is senior Madeline Edwards of Springville. Edwards is no stranger to Elk Lake productions, having previously appeared on stage 13 times before, including ‘Way out West in a Dress,’ ‘Heroes,’ ‘and ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Girls.’
“I started dancing when I was three years old,” Edwards explained about her stage experience. “I love performing, and always wanted to join the drama club.”
Concerning her performance of Mona, Edwards said she found it a challenge.
Mona is an older woman, with a niece and nephew to care for after their parents died, she explained. Mona also faces the challenge of taking care of her home, while trying to find the money to keep things going.
“It’s a very different role,” Edwards said. “I’ve always played very vivacious, very flirty girls. Now I’m playing an older woman who’s taking care of her niece and nephew. It’s very different, but I feel up to it.”
Edwards said that she plans to attend St. Bonaventure University where she intends to major in mass communications and journalism, while minoring in theater.
Senior Cydney DeWitt of Dimock who plays Ann, Mona’s niece, also has a great deal of experience with Elk Lake productions, having appeared in ‘Heroes,’ ‘Back to the 80s,’ and ‘Baker Street Irregulars.’
“She assists Aunt Mona,” DeWitt explained about her part. “Aunt Mona has her troubles and Ann helps her take care of the mansion.”
DeWitt said she was a little intimidated by the role, at first, because Ann seemed a little bossy.
“But then I adapted the role to my personality,” she said. “I think this is the biggest role I’ve ever had.”
DeWitt said she plans to attend Slippery Rock University upon graduation, but is uncertain of her major, but is interested in continuing her work in theater.
“I’m excited to graduate, but I’m going to miss all the shows with all my fellow performers,” she said.
In connect with the theme of ‘Yard Sale,’ Bradish said that the drama department will hold a Chinese auction before each performance, in which people will be able to place bids on certain objects. Proceeds will be used to support to the drama department.
‘Yard Sale’ is on stage on Friday and Saturday, April 7-8, with a 7 p.m. curtain call. Tickets are $3, which can be purchased in advance as well as at the door.