BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Get ready for laughs and fun as the Clarkston High School Drama Club presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” April 27-29.
The musical comedy follows six kids battling to be named the Spelling Bee champion, and three adults. It also includes four audience members who get their chance in the spelling bee.
“It is filled with many funny moments,” said Brendan Carter, who plays William Barfee. “He is a person who doesn’t have a lot of manners. He is quite gross as a person. It has always been his dream to win the spelling bee, but he has been held back due to things such as allergies. Everything is funny and interesting to him, but he takes this spelling bee extremely seriously.”
He also has a quirk, Carter shared.
“His whole thing is a ‘magic foot’ which is able to spell out his word.”
William Barfee isn’t the only character with a quirk.
Leaf Coneybear, played by Max Lies, goes into a trance when he is given a word.
“He is very forgetful and absent-minded,” Lies said about Leaf. “He typically doesn’t know what the word is and has never heard of it.”
He added it’s easy to step into the role.
“I can really do, in some sense, whatever I want,” Lies smiled. “Coneybear has a bit of comic relief – I fall off chairs, have my own tap dance ballet solo where I just imagine I am playing with toys. I am kind of my character in real life.”
Also vying to win the spelling bee is Marcy Park, played by Sam Carter, who finished ninth in the nationals and is able to do everything.
“She is a very good speller,” said Sam. “She is on her ‘A’ game and this is her place. Marcy is good at everything. There’s not a thing she can’t do. She is overachieving at every aspect of life. She sometimes finds it can be a little stressful having to be good at everything. She doesn’t want to disappoint anyone by being bad. Her inner struggle is finding the balance between being successful and also being happy.”
Sam added it’s fun to play Marcy because she is learning new skills because her character excels in them, like playing the piano and drums.
“All of the children are very individual,” said Sam. “They all have their own thing and their own struggles trying to win.”
Running the Spelling Bee is Rona Lisa Peretti, one of the top realtors in Putnam County, played by Alyssa Harbaugh.
“She is living through her elementary life through a vicarious kind of way,” Harbaugh shared. “She is stuck in those years, because of it, she runs the Putnam County Spelling Bee. She comments on in like a sports commentator. She is very excited about the whole event. She holds her dreams vicariously through all these kids and as she is commenting on it and seeing everything happen she is getting more progressively excited.”
Harbaugh shared it’s been an amazing experience.
“She gets to spend a lot of time with improv and working with audience volunteers,” she added. “She has the entire stage in her hand.”
Vice Principal Douglas Panch, played by Ryan Weaver, lends a hand giving the competitors their words and also pronounces and defines the words for the kids.
“I personally think Douglas Panch is one of the funniest characters in the show,” Weaver said. “I feel happy and honored to portray such a fun character.”
Mitch Mahoney, played by Evan Maconochie, also helps out, but reluctantly as a convict volunteering to fulfill his community service.
“At first he doesn’t want to be there at all,” Maconochie shared. “Then, he finds he likes to help the kids. But he is such a tough person he doesn’t know how to. He gets really angry trying to figure that out. By the end he really likes doing it.”
He added it’s a different experience to play Mitch because the character is angry.
“I am usually an upbeat person,” he explained.
“He is the nicest,” Sam added.
“It’s me realizing I can be angrier than I usually am,” Maconochie said. “I have to realize inside