Left to right, Jessica Bouma (Raynelle), Maggie McDonald (Delightful), and Kylie Ott (Reverend), plan the eulogy of the “dearly departed,” Bud Turpin (Jude Kaider/The Report).

Dramatic comedy opens Nov. 2

By Jason Arndt

On a Saturday afternoon at Wilmot Union High School, about two-dozen students break out of their shell, and rehearse their lines for the fall production of “Dearly Departed.”

For faculty director Karen Heelein, the students have been a blast and have gotten into character for the show set to premiere Thursday, Nov. 2 in the school auditorium.

“They are doing a phenomenal job, fun to work with, and a great group,” said Heelein.

Dearly Departed, a theatrical production written by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, chronicles a family trying to plan a funeral for uncle Bud Turpin.

The planning, however, takes a chaotic and comedic turn as family members bicker and can’t seem to put aside their differences.

Turning to their friends for support, meanwhile, does not help matters.

As students work to develop their characters, it poses a different set of challenges for each of them, including junior Mason Worklan.

Worklan, who plays Ray-Bud, the son of Bud Turpin, said the role differs from his personality.

“My character is Ray-Bud, he was really close to his dad, so the fact that everyone is not as serious as he would like is kind of a let down,” Worklan said. “I am more of a funny guy, I guess, and I go from being a goofball to his character.”

Illustrating the character Delightful, the Turpins only daughter, is junior Maggie McDonald.

McDonald, active in theatrical and musical productions inside and outside of Wilmot, said transitioning from an outgoing person off the stage to a quiet and disconnected person on stage was a challenge.

“She is kind of disconnected from her family in a way, she is also very quiet,” McDonald said. “I am very talkative.”

Despite the vast change, once on stage, McDonald believes she can make a seamless transition.

“Once I get on stage, I just naturally get into character, and sometimes I forget what I was doing once I get off the stage,” she said.

Meanwhile, freshman Garrett Christiansen, who depicts Nadine, a woman with nearly dozen children,
learned to get into character despite having a dislike for children.

Like McDonald, senior Amy Poteracki has been actively involved in play productions at Wilmot, including last year’s production of Altar Egos.

Amy Poteracki (Suzanne) and Gabe Salgado (Junior) discuss an earring, not hers, discovered in the car while driving home for the funeral (Jude Kaider/The Report).

Poteracki, who portrays Suzanne, the daughter-in-law of the late Bud Turpin, said her character is a stark contrast compared to her previous plays.

“My character, Suzanne, is very dramatic, she cries a lot,” said Poteracki, who has grown accustomed to playing comedic characters. “It was hard to adjust to that because I am really outgoing.”

Although Poteracki illustrates a serious character, she said the play comes with several comedic twists and turns, including constant jokes.

“I love all of the jokes that are in this play. It is a lot fun,” she said.

Worklan agreed, adding Dearly Departed offers a wide array of tones, unlike several other productions.

“It manages to be both funny, and serious, at the same time,” he said. “That is what sets it apart from other plays.”

If you go…

WHAT: Dearly Departed, written by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 2; Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Wilmot Union High School, 11112 308th St., Wilmot.

Cost: $6 admission, student activity passes accepted.


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