BHS Thespians to Present Free Production of One-Act, War-Time Play, "Bury the Dead"

By Julie Perine on February 08, 2018 via

Bridgeport High School Thespian Troupe #7549 takes its one-act play, “Bury the Dead,” to the Regional Thespian Festival, Saturday at Fairmont Senior High School.
But before that, the student actors are bringing the production to the public. At 7 p.m. Friday, the 45-minute show will be performed at the BHS theater with no admission cost. “Bury the Dead” is an ensemble show, meaning that there are no lead roles and that everyone has their moment to shine on stage, said Director Trina Byard. Thirty-two cast and crew members are involved.
“Bury the Dead” is a thought-provoking piece written by Irwin Shaw in the 1930s, said BHS Theater Teacher/Thespian Faculty Sponsor Jared St. Martin Brown.
“It takes place in a hypothetical war and, of course, the playwright is really familiar with the Great War – now called World War I – and he would have also been noticing people rising to power in Europe and he was probably concerned about the threat of war,” St. Martin Brown said. “So, this play discusses the human cost of war. What you have is a bunch of people fighting for their lives and rejecting the inevitable death that comes from military conflict.”
Though not violent in nature, it is a very heavy piece in that it deals with deep emotions and the value of life, he said. It is recommended for teens and adults.
It’s important, St. Martin Brown said, for actors to develop plays of serious nature.
“Every play has a message; even a funny play can have a serious message. But sometimes, we like to do a serious play with a serious message,” he said. “It gives students a chance to deal with some acting they wouldn’t normally do in a happier play – a chance to exercise those skills to convey a serious subject in a serious way – and it also gives the audience another aspect of theater arts. Theater can deal with serious subjects. It doesn’t have to be light entertainment. It can ask big questions.”
The show is challenging and its preparation happened to land right in the midst of rehearsals for the all-school production of “BARNUM” - to be performed Feb. 24-25 at BHS.
“About 60 percent of our actors are also in ‘BARNUM’ and most of the kids in the crew are working on both,” Byard said. “But this is for our Thespian Festival competition and we decided to take on the challenge. The kids really enjoy going to Thespian Festival. They were up for the challenge, so we were up for the challenge.”
They are handling that challenge in an amazing way, said Byard, adding that it’s so important to the Thespians to gain public support.
“They feed off the energy of the audience so that just helps boost their morale for what they will be facing the next day,” she said.
For the past three years, the BHS Thespian Troupe #7549 has advanced to the state level and their shows have placed in the top five at states. Two have advanced to national competition, Byard said.
In addition to the one-act play, the troupe will enter some tech projects, including a costume design entry, a short film entry and a script-writing entry.
The cast and crew of "Bury the Dead" follows: 
First General- Colin MacFarland
Captain- Brett Tustin
Third General- Trevor Wolfe
First Soldier- Ethan Willis  
Private Driscoll- Callia Byard
Private Morgan- Corey Stephens
Private Levy- Mohamed Ben Fredj
Private Webster- Andrew White
Private Schelling- Derek Hess
Private Dean- Wesley Cotter
Katherine Driscoll- Heather Bokey
Julia Blake- Jordan Kennedy-Rea
Joan Burke- Erica Cottrill
Martha Webster- Megan Rinker
Bess Schelling- Michaela Hutcheson
Mrs. Dean- Demi DiPiazza
Priest- Dalton Colton
Reporter- Madyia McCullough
Editor- Kady Hayes
Radio reporter- Vincent Pinti
Newsboy- Caroline Fulks
Voices:  Adelina Hill, Catherine Gray, Rylee Chamberlin, Samuel Cale
Director: Trina Byard
Acting Mentor: Lydia Mong
Producer: Jared St. Martin Brown
Technical Director/Designer: Jared St. Martin Brown
Production Designers: Trina Byard & Jared St. Martin Brown
Assistant Director: Meagan Hutcheson
Production Stage Manager: Haley Wilson
Vocal and Music Director: Erica Cottrill
Sound: Ashlynn Paascoe
Lighting: Zayne Byard,
Spots: Bailey King, Jordan Jones
Costume Designers: Maddie Labenne and Bethany Queen
Makeup Design: Izzy Hawkinberry
Crew: Jenna Keefover, Izzy Hawkinberry,
Bethany Queen, Maddie Labenne
Rehearsal photos are courtesy of Anita Cottrill. 

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