Performing to help others

P.A. high school Thespian Society explores play with suicide theme

Upset about the suicide of her favorite rock star, teenaged Dillon falls into a deep sleep – and sleepwalks through a journey where she meets various aspects of her own personality.

"Sleepwalk" is not a typical feel-good play, but Port Angeles High School drama teacher and Thespian Society director Kelly Lovall felt it was an important story to tell to peninsula teens and their parents.

"(It’s about) a teen’s journey toward finding the strength and ability to withstand impulse and self-destructive behavior," said Lovall, who also directed this production of the William Mastrosimone play.

Although the play is written for a male lead, Lovall chose to cast Port Angeles High School student Shayna Butcher as Dillon. The entire performance is set in Dillon’s bedroom where she finds Conscience, her primal instinct Amygdala and even her beloved rock star, based on fallen rocker Kurt Cobain.

The Thespian Society started at the school in 2003, said Lovall, who as been the group’s director since its inception. The society has about eight members, so Lovall had an open audition for the play.

"The Thespian Society put on the production and did the advertising," she said. "We do this as a team."

Because there are eight performances, Lovall decided to have two casts – two students play each role except the role of Dillon.

Due to the nature of "Sleepwalk," Lovall said a counselor would be on-site before and after each performance ready to answer audience questions and provide information.

"Teens feel helpless at times to express their feelings, to reach out for help," Lovall said in a statement. "You are the only tools you have to work with."

A tale of teen angst

Who: Port Angeles High School Thespian Society

What: "Sleepwalk," by William Mastrosimone, a play about teen suicide directed by Kelly Lovall

When: Jan. 10-13, 17-20, 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Where: Port Angeles Community Playhouse, 135 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles

Tickets: $4 for students; $5 for general admission

Additional Information: Due to the nature of the play, a counselor will be on-site before and after each performance to answer questions and provide information for the audience.