'Auntie Mame' ever a marvel to behold Francis Scott Key school production is April 16 and 17

April 09, 1993|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

The drama students at Francis Scott Key High School believe that some things never go out of style.

That is why they will be presenting the play "Auntie Mame" at 8 p.m. on April 16 and 17 in the school auditorium. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for senior citizens and students.

There are a musical version and a movie based on "Auntie Mame." Even though the play has been around for several decades, the humor is very much contemporary.

"This is a show that I saw the movie when I was in high school and found it humorous," said Suzanne Summit, a math teacher at the school and the director of the play. "It's fun to see that these kids find it as funny as I did."

"A lot of the jokes still apply to today," said Patrick White, a 16-year-old sophomore who plays Mame's second husband, Lindsay Woolsey.

The play follows Mame Dennis as she tries to save her nephew, Patrick, from marrying his snobbish fiancee and becoming like his conservative trustee, Mr. Babcock. During the course of the play, the audience gets treated to a look at Mame's rather eccentric life.

"I associate with the character really well," said Sheri Bickerton, a 17-year-old senior who plays Auntie Mame. "She lives life to the fullest, and so do I."

This is Sheri's first lead role. She has been participating in plays at Francis Scott Key since she was a sophomore. A finalist in the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Scholarship for the Dramatic Arts program, Sheri is one of the reasons that "Auntie Mame" was chosen as the spring production.

"I had a very strong female lead [Sheri] that I thought this would be a good vehicle for," Ms. Summit said.

"Sheri is really good," said 15-year-old Aaron Jenkins, a freshman who plays Ralph Devane, a man who runs a nudist school. "She even came to practice when she had laryngitis. She's very dedicated."

Everyone agrees that the character of Mame is a remarkable one.

"She's like that old-fashion kind of glamorous that you think about when you think about the '20s," said Mary Brown, an 18-year-old senior who plays Mame's best friend, Vera Charles. "She's a nonconforming person who still commands respect."

The cast has grown close during the weeks of rehearsal it has taken to memorize more than 200 pages of dialogue.

"It's not real hard when you have people like this to work with," said Andrew Dudderar, 15. He is a sophomore who portrays the nephew, Patrick.

"It's fun," added Kristi Partner, a 15-year-old sophomore.

"It's kind of neat 'cause I [as Pegeen Ryans, the interior decorator] get to steal Mame's nephew away from his fiancee."

The play has more than 30 parts, which give the cast of 25 the opportunity to showcase their considerable talent -- and speed.

"This is probably one of our more enterprising endeavors because it has a lot of scene and costume changes," Ms. Summit said.

Finding clothes to fit the time period of the play has been challenging. According to Faison Drury, the assistant director and head of wardrobe, everyone has been pitching in.

"We get some of our costumes from the Costume Shop on Main Street" in Westminster, Mrs. Faison said. "We also get them from parents' closets, students, teachers, friends, kids walking down the hall we can grab things from. We're sort of working on a shoestring, so to speak."

The cast and crew have been putting in long hours in anticipation of opening night.

According to Sheri, and her alter ego Mame, "It's a fabulous little play that will make you walk away with a smile."

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