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Beach to present Junior Class play

What could go wrong at a summer family get-together? Just about everything, as the Sludge family discovers in a comedy being presented by the Beach High School Junior Class.

"Virgil's Family Reunion" by Eddie McPherson is the first opportunity for the Beach students to participate in a high school play, said director Diane Taylor Szudera.

"One of the fun nights is when we bring down the trunks and they dress each other in costumes," she said. "They change their minds 100 times before they get an outfit picked out."

With 20 students on stage, not everyone can have large roles.

"Some have small parts, but I'm impressed -- they come to support each other for the two-hour rehearsals," Szudera said. "They work really well together and have a good time trying to make it a fun play."

The play centers around Eloise and Harley Sludge, played by Stephanie Steele and James Kary.

Steele describes her character as an uptight hillybilly, who tries to get everything going right.

"Her husband gets arrested when he drives his four-wheeler in the flower garden of a mean neighbor," Steele said. "Turns out, the neighbor was framing him."

She references the neighbor, Pamela Chambers, who warns the Sludges that she is drafting a petition for eviction because the Sludge's weed-infested landscape doesn't promote her idea of a safe and attractive community.

Then there is Virgil and Margaret who have their first lover-spat. Ellard, Virgil's best friend, proposes to Virgil's sister using visual aids, and the 95-year-old matriarch of the family plans to elope with her new boyfriend, Mr. Perky.

As a first-time actress, Steele said theater is about learning and clues. She appreciates having Szudera as their director.

"She always has food for us there," Steele said. "It's a class play, so we know everybody, but we get to know each person better."

Szudera sees the Junior Class play as an introduction to theater.

"Mostly I try to get them to face the audience and speak loud enough, since we don't have a mic system," she said. "I give them suggestions about their characters, but they sometimes come up with a lot better ideas than I could. They use their own creativity and I lend a little experience to it."

Szudera encourages the community to support the high school students.

"They work so hard, and we only have two performances," she said.

The performances are 7 p.m. today and Monday at the Lincoln Elementary School Gymnasium in Beach. Freewill offerings will be accepted.

Cast list

Stephanie Steele -- Eloise Sludge

James Kary -- Harley Wayne Sludge

Katrina Shumway -- Mama Hooper

Tyler Benes -- Papa Hooper

Kelly Groll -- Pamela Chambers

Jayce Huffman -- Virgil Sludge

Morgan Nunberg -- Margaret Sludge

Jasmine Stockert -- Bertha Mae Sludge

Tyler Losinski -- Ellard

Boston Zachmann -- Police Chief

Logan Nielsen -- Police Deputy

Danny Skoglund -- Police Deputy

Kari Schmeling -- Moe Moe Stooge

Kayla Howard -- Curly Sue Stooge

Taylor Barnart -- Larry Sue Stooge

Katie Ueckert -- Grandma Petunia

Ty Sime -- Mr. Perky

Parker Abraham -- Tiny

Miranda Weninger -- Aunt Polly

Joe Walworth -- Uncle Lester