DCHS drama department putting on "Don't Try to Wake Him, Hand Me the Shovel"

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
DCHS drama students rehearse for the upcoming production of "Don't Try to Wake Him, Hand Me the Shovel," at the DCHS auditorium from  Nov. 11-13. Students rehearsing were freshman Katie Klecker, Justin Klenke, Lennon Thomas, Sarah Dixon, Heidi Kimball, Anyssa Macias and Nathaly Rios and sophomore Yamir Gardea.

The Dodge City High School drama department will be looking to make the audience laugh as it puts on its first production of "Don't Try to Wake Him, Hand Me the Shovel." 

According to first-year DCHS drama director Lisa Deal, the production is a two-act comedy, "about a scared newscaster doing a story in a haunted house when a bunch of 'eclectic' characters show up.

"There's a couple of wacky movie makers, unintelligent crooks, and a group of cheerleaders, plus more! It's a fun play to watch and enjoy!"

The production will be held at the DCHS auditorium from Nov. 11-13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be $5 for adults, $3 for students, gold passes and high school teacher/student IDs get in free.

In selecting the comedy as the DCHS first production of the year, Deal said it was due to, "I wanted to see the audience laugh and have a good time! There is a lot of stress in the world right now, and sometimes just sitting back and enjoying watching kids perform a comedy can lighten the mood a bit."

Actors Katie Klecker (Fr.), Justin Klenke (Jr.) and Maddelynn Hernandez (Jr.), rehearse lines for the upcoming DCHS drama production.

For Deal, it will mark the first time she has been involved in a DCHS production.

"I have not been involved in the drama department here, but I have been involved in the drama departments in my previous schools," Deal said. "This will be my 10th play to direct and I love being involved here at DCHS! The students have been amazing to work with and the faculty and administration has been very supportive."

Growing up, Deal didn't have a drama department in her high school but it was something she was always interested in.

"It was something I was interested in trying, so I learned by doing when I worked at Oxford High School many years ago," Deal said, "and I've loved doing it ever since."

When asked what the audience can expect when seeing the play, Deal said, "Hopefully a good laugh and a lot of fun, plus some students doing their best to have a good time on the stage!"

The Players

For DCHS freshman Justin Klenke, he may be new to the DCHS stage but not new to the stage overall

"I started when I was really young, if I remember correctly before I even started school," Klenke said. "I acted in the high school play 'Miracle on 34th Street' and I played as one of the children that asks Santa for something, specifically I asked for a big red firetruck. I didn't do any acting again until 3rd grade, when I auditioned for 'How to eat like a child' at the Depot Theater.

"After that I would continue acting for both the high school and the Depot for years, eventually acting as the dragon in Cinderella and earning the title of Best Supporting Actor."

Klenke auditioned for the role along with the rest of the cast, a process he said was simple.

"The audition was pretty simple, I went into Ms. Deal's room, then she handed everyone auditioning a script, prompting us to read a certain role," Klenke said. "I read the role for Oscar, and Carlisle in that day.

"I actually found out that I would have the lead role in the form of the question; 'Would you be fine if you had the lead role?'"

According to Klenke, rehearsals are two hours a day with the cast running lines in the auditorium and blocking out the scenes.

When asked if he saw himself acting more in the future, Klenke said, "Definitely, theatre is extremely fun and I enjoy, and have enjoyed it for years. I'm going to be doing forensics next semester and am going to audition for the musical as well."

Freshman and fellow lead actor Katie Klecker, said she has always been interested in acting. A passion that began when seeing Cinderella at the Depot Theater in Dodge City.

When asked what it was like finding out she would be the lead, Klecker said, "I was very excited! I was a bit confused at first speaking that I'm only a freshman but I was very happy about it."

When rehearsals aren't happening, Klecker said she's still working.

"I have been running over my script trying to learn lines and figure out the best way to portray my character," Klecker said. "I definitely see myself trying out for as many plays as I can."

The veteran of the cast is junior Jasmine Moreno, she got interested in in acting when friends of hers wanted to try out for a play.

"They wanted me to go with them," Moreno said. "I ended up auditioning, getting a role and I’ve really enjoyed acting since then."

Moreno's previous work has been Mrs. MacNeil and Sobsister in Radium Girls and as Alien #4 in No Signs Of Intelligent Life.

Being one of the veterans of the stage, Moreno did say actors have looked to her for guidance.

"This has been weird because a few years ago I was in their shoes as a new actor," Moreno said. "This doesn’t add any pressure on me because I feel like I can give good advice to them if they ask."

When Moreno was asked what she would say to fellow students who may be interested in joining drama, she said, "You should join drama because you’ll have a lot of fun participating in all of the events that we do. You also learn a lot about acting. 

"Some of my biggest takeaways from being in drama are that you should be prepared for what you know is coming up and I’ve learned many leadership skills.

"I do see myself continuing acting in the future because I have a lot of fun."

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com