Centre High School play director Jennifer Montgomery wanted a comedy that was innocent. She also thought a period piece would be fun. She found the right mixture with “Act Your Age,” a play written in the 1940s and set during the decade.
Montgomery had seniors Ellie Miller and Anna Weber in mind when selecting the production. Miller and Weber have acted in Centre’s plays since they were eighth graders. They play two 14-year-old girls, Angy and Jerry who lie about their age to go dancing with two sailors staying at their residence on shore leave.
The two sailors — played by senior Dylan Svitak and junior Kevin Lewis — are not keen on the idea of going off to war and they convince the two girls, who they think are 18, to get married. None of the parties involved is particularly enthusiastic about the proposition.
Hijinks ensue from this point with the culmination arriving at a funeral scene. The aunt of the girls is Sandra, played by junior Makenzie Deines. She finds out about the impending marriage and disguises herself as a teenager herself. When the heroines get wind of the plot against them, they fake their own death. To appear less life like, the sailors dab their faces with flour, which is then sprayed over the stage when the girls’ father Commander Stone — played by sophomore Conner Montgomery — who is also the naval men’s commanding officer, unravels the mystery.
Although embedded in a story full of ridiculous scenes, the funeral scene influenced Montgomery to delay performances of the play to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday from Nov. 3 and 4. She thought the play was in bad taste with the untimely death of 2009 CHS graduate Konley Harding Oct. 27 in Manhattan.
Now that enough time has passed, Montgomery believes the audience will respond positively to the humor in the play and maybe look back at the time with a sense of nostalgia.
She has also witnessed that her cast has really taken it upon themselves to bring energy to their roles. She said the improvement in comedic timing has been marked since the first rehearsals.
“These guys have a lot of talent,” Montgomery said. “I need to get them to be confident.”
There is also a commitment to comedy among her actors exemplified by Svitak. Unlike Weber, Miller and Lewis, this is Svitak’s first play with Centre. Weber remarked that in his first production Svitak scored one of the larger roles. It’s because he fits the character of Gadget, who is a crude lumbering sailor.
At one point in a break from rehearsal Nov. 7, Svitak said he wished he could have played one of the female parts. Weber suggested to Montgomery that they switch parts, to which the play director quickly denied.
Centre is also filming the play and streaming the video online on Centre’s iHigh website.
Tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for students. The Centre Perk coffee shop will be open to provide concessions.