LHS play to honor veterans
Ledford High School students will bring their collective skills together for an emotional play that pays tribute to veterans and those serving in the military.
The Ledford Fine Arts Department is working on a Panther Players Production of Reginald Rose's "The Death and Life of Larry Benson." The first of three performances at T. Austin Finch Auditorium begins 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25. The story is of a young soldier who returns home after supposedly being declared missing in action for three years.
As a way to pay tribute to servicemen and women, veterans will be admitted free with identification.
"I just felt that with what's going on in the world, with our soldiers and veterans and everything they're going through, that this would be a nice way of paying respect to them," said Bob Dye, theater instructor. " It's just things that I think some of these families have to go through and deal with. We wanted to draw awareness to it."
Those who attend the play are asked to bring greeting and playing cards, puzzles and books, all of which will be sent to troops as a way to show support for their sacrifices.
"We went into this knowing we wanted to tie in the military somehow," Assistant Director Devin Gray, a senior, said. "We wanted to do something to give back to the troops. For me personally, I like the idea a lot because I don't think you can ever recognize soldiers enough."
While not one of the more widely known plays, "The Death and Life of Larry Benson" is an emotional depiction of a family in crisis. Junior Daniel Cavanaugh, 17, plays "The Boy" and said that he had never heard of the play before seeing the script and was surprised at the depth to his character.
"There are a lot of sub-relationships going on before you realize it," said Cavanaugh. "We just get to see how real people are. I didn't realize how emotionally tolling the play is."
Gray said the play features characters and issues that almost anyone can relate to. Several of the play's 13 actors face difficult challenges as their characters come to life.
"For the actors, this play is a big load, especially for characters who are playing almost two roles at once," Grey said. "There is a lot of character history you don't see on stage that create all these back stories."
Dye feels the biggest hurdles for his young cast are portraying rich characters with real problems without life experiences to fall back on.
"The kids are doing a really good job," said Dye. "It's a difficult play to do as a director, when they have to be angry you don't want them to just scream and yell. They have to be angry for a reason. They have to play why they're angry, not that they're angry. I want them to answer basic questions about the character."
Students are playing roles throughout the play's production, on and off the stage. The shop class is building the scenery, a computer class is laying out the playbill, the yearbook staff is taking head shots of the actors and a clothing and apparel class is handling costume alterations.
"We make it more of a schoolwide production than just the theater department," Dye said.
Show times are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan, 27. Tickets are $10.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.