Five Acre School play examines life of Nikola Tesla

“The Secret History of Nikola Tesla,” Five Acre School’s spring production, arrives on stage Thursday and Friday, March 28-29, in the Little Theater at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.

Showtimes for the public are 7 p.m. and admission is by donation. For schoolchildren, including homeschooled students, a matinee is set for 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 29.

Written by Seattle playwright Jennifer Dice, “Secret History” is the story of Tesla (1856-1943), the Serbian-American who invented alternating current power and other everyday wireless things people take for granted today.

The hour-long play is a fictionalized tale featuring Tesla’s contemporaries Thomas Edison, Mary Astor, Susan B. Anthony, George Westinghouse, Marie Curie and Andrew Carnegie.

“Radio waves, robotics, neon lights, AC power — all these were harnessed or produced as a result of Tesla’s incredible mind,” Rosie Sharpe, music and performing arts teacher at Five Acre School, said.

In real life, Tesla won neither fame nor fortune. He was known for his showy lectures, but he had trouble getting funding for his projects.

Dice and company opted to fix that.

“In our play,” Sharpe said, “he gets the chance to prove himself. He saves the day in a dramatic way.”

In another turn of dramatic license, Susan B. Anthony, played by Ayla Alstrup, is president of the United States while the vice president is Emily Post, portrayed by Aliyah Lara.

“She makes sure everybody behaves,” Sharpe said.

Lily Tjemsland, 10, is among Five Acre School’s veteran performers. She’s appeared as a baby spider in “Tricksters in Limbo,” a siren in “The Odyssey: One Thing After Another” and a witch in “Shrek.” This time out she plays a doctor.

Along with “Secret History,” Five Acre’s kindergartners and first-graders will present a playlet titled “Tacky the Penguin” on Friday night only. In it, Tacky is an odd bird in the penguin world. The story is about how having an odd friend around can be a good thing.

For more information about Five Acre, visit FiveAcreSchool.org or call 360-681-7255.

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