The lights flickered on, throwing the lavishly dressed cast in the scene of a luxuriant dining room into spotlights.
Everyone took a deep breath, readying themselves for the big performance.
Immediately the action began, and “Asa Buckcannon,” a wealthy 65-year-old CEO of Buckcannon Industries, proposed a toast to his equally wealthy (though somewhat dim) family and friends.
“To good friends and relatives!” Asa exclaimed.
“To good friends and relatives!” the family toasted.
“To a great year!” Asa exuberantly shouted.
“To a great year!” the family toasted.
“To Buckcannon Industries!” Asa called enthusiastically.
“To Buckcannon Industries!” the family toasted.
“I don’t feel so good,” Asa said and paused, looking slightly pale.
“I don’t feel so good!” the family toasted.
“No, I’m serious!” Asa moaned, less energetically now.
“No, I’m serious!” the family toasted.
“I think I’ve been poisoned,” Asa choked.
“I think I’ve been poisoned!” the family toasted.
“I’m dying, you idiots!” Asa bemoaned.
“I’m dying, you idiots!” the family toasted.
After a few moments of overdramatic staggering and stumbling, Asa fell down dead, his last words being, “I’m dead!”
“Asa Buckcannon” is 13-year-old Michael Sly, who portrayed this character with humor and wit in Key Peninsula Middle School’s latest play, “Days of our Nights.” With an additional twist, he also played Casa, Asa’s identical twin sister. With an outrageous wig and an even more absurd dress, Casa is literally Asa in drag. “It seemed interesting to play the role of a ‘manly’ woman,” Sly said.
The play, staged for KPMS students as well as the community in January, told the tale of a befuddled group of ridiculously rich people celebrating New Year on a yacht, as Asa Buckcannon, the “head honcho” of the family, suddenly dies from poison. More murders soon follow, and the already foolish family is thrown into utter chaos and confusion. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Asa’s somewhat inept bodyguard, detective Palumbo, shows up on the scene, ready to solve the case. Much to his dismay, the family scoffs at him, suspicious of his minimal detective skills.
With a cast of Phoebe Buckcannon, the tyrannical mother of Asa; Gena, who has a chip implanted into her brain, which makes her extremely bipolar; Greta, the long-lost relative who was raised in the jungle; and of course, spoiled, gun-happy Sami Brady, this show couldn’t get any funnier.
After an incident with the lead actor in the performance, Lennon Chalk, a ninth grader at Peninsula High School, was asked to fill in the lead. He eagerly agreed, and set out to study the character of Palumbo. Another ninth grader, Nick Markman, filled in for another actor in the play. Lennon and Nick are excellent actors, and have performed in previous Key Peninsula plays. Despite the limited time, they did an outstanding job of memorizing the lines, and performed wonderfully, making “Days of Our Nights” one of the most memorable plays KPMS has seen.
When asked about the play afterwards, the cast unanimously agreed it was a huge success, eliciting uproarious laughter from the audience. Actor Tara Miller said, “It made them laugh a lot. I’m just glad they didn’t throw vegetables at us.”
The teacher of the advanced drama class, Jason McWhirter, highly praised the talent and perseverance the class has shown. Although weather conditions cancelled nearly all their dress rehearsals, the students were unhindered and worked hard, bringing an outstanding play to the school.
“Despite the weather problems and cast problems, this class did an amazing job, and I was proud to be a part of the production,” McWhirter said proudly.
Erica Ma is a Key Peninsula Middle School eighth-grade student.