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Drama Club Takes The Stage

Not everyone suits up for football or knows how to get down for the dig in volleyball. Not all students are in the Future Farmers of America organization or take part in Key Club activities. Some students at Escalon High have found their niche on stage, and are currently in rehearsal for the upcoming production of 'And Never Been Kissed' to be performed on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2. Teacher Jason Collinsworth is the Drama Club advisor and said he is looking forward to seeing the finished product hit the stage. (See photos, Page A3.) "It's a play about a soon-to-be 16-year-old, Flory, who has never been kissed," he said in setting the premise of the play, which he termed a dramedy, a cross between a comedy and a drama. "She is desperately and intensely trying to find a boy to give her her first kiss. They say it's a comedy but anybody that has ever been around any teenage girls knows there's drama." Playing the title role of Flory is Ashley Weckerly, with Brittany New cast as her younger sister Mavy and Erica Mendez as her best friend Millie. Playing Flory's mother, Mrs. Patterson, is Sara Castledine and her love interest, Mr. Peabody, is portrayed by Thor Swann. Others in the cast include Hannah Mosqueda, playing Mavy's best friend and 'the boys' targeted by Flory for her first kiss portrayed by Isaac Mouw, Garrett Fosmark and Tommy Fourre. "We practice every day," Collinsworth said. "There are about 15 characters total in the play." The cast is in rehearsals for two hours each school day, with some practices right after school and others in the early evening. This is Collinsworth's second play as head of the drama department, having done 'Who's Crying Now' last spring. "I love it," he said. "It's a lot of work, a lot of stress but so much fun. And I'm really proud of these kids." New, a junior, said she is having fun playing the role of "annoying little sister" in the play, taking a cue from the frustrations of real life to add to the character. "Ashley and I are really good friends so we have that underlying anger and it's fun to take it out on stage," New said. "Plus you get to be somebody else when you're on stage ... it's fun." This is New's third production while at Escalon High. This group started rehearsing just a few weeks ago and is busy getting the lines and stage directions learned before the curtain rises in a little over two weeks. Freshman Taylor Huntley has been kept busy, serving as understudy for several major parts. "It's awesome," she said, noting that she has to be ready to go should one of the main characters not be able to perform. "I'm here to do something, to keep myself out of trouble and it's awesome to be here rather than sitting at home." Castledine is a veteran performer, with this being the sixth play she has taken part in at the high school. She plays Mrs. Patterson, mother of the main character. "I like everything about it," she said. "Being up there and being able to play a different character each time." With the group now coming down to the precious last couple of weeks to cram, Castledine said nerves can sometimes be on edge. "We bicker but it's like a family bickering," she said of the sometimes testy rehearsals. "It's really fun, though, everyone gets really into their parts." Swann, a senior, has been in two other productions. "It's exciting and you get to show the school what you can do," he said. "I can't play sports but this is to be creative, this is good people, too, and I like every part I've played." 'And Never Been Kissed' is set in the 1920s and Weckerly, playing the title role of Flory, said it has been fun to step back in time. "I don't usually act boy crazy and anxious to be kissed," she said. The character is one she enjoys playing, though, and she is happy to be a part of this particular cast. "I get to be really, really dramatic," Weckerly said. "It's not too nerve-wracking having a part with more lines, I just work with people around me and practice a lot. "This is a close knit group, they become family and you become the part," she added. "It's really exciting and I've always loved drama, it's one of the biggest things in my life." The show will take center stage in the Performing Arts Center on the Escalon High School campus on Friday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m.