Going Out On A Bang

Seniors in theater prepare for their last show at NHS

Lead roles in the male “The Odd Couple” show, Michael Schimmer and Tristin Bogner share the stage. (Madison McCrea)

The Nixa High School theater department prepares for a show unlike any other they have performed — “The Odd Couple.” Like the previous play in the fall, the “Odd Couple” will have two different casts.
They have two separate versions of the play prepared — one with a female cast and one with the male cast.
Both casts and the directors of the show said they are excited about the atypical two cast plays.
Cory Glenn, stagecraft teacher and head director of the show, said he thinks they have a funny cast.
“Honestly, the group of [current] seniors, when I met them as freshman I thought they would be a good group to do this show with,” Glenn said. “I have thought about this group for this show for a long time.”
The original play consisted of a cast mainly of men . Doing two shows with two different casts provides contrast between them while giving equal opportunities.
“I’m really glad that us girls are getting the same chance to do the show as the guys,” senior Rosalyn Schuster said, who plays Florence in the play.
Tristin Bogner, senior and one of the lead roles in the male cast, said he is most excited to test his range in acting while performing with his best friend and castmate, Michael Schimmer.
“… We’ve never shared a scene on stage together before, so it is finally our time to shine,” Bogner said.
Senior Schimmer, the other lead role in the male cast, said he is excited to share Bogner’s chemistry with the audience.
“Being able to share the stage with him our senior year is really cool,” Schimmer said.
Glenn and both casts work to perform the show with a contrast between comedy and drama. Glenn said he thinks the audience will appreciate the humor in the show.
“I think to just have a night to come to the theater and laugh with a group of people will be nice,” Glenn said.
In light of the pandemic, Glenn said this show is an excellent reminder of human connections. “The show is about friendship,” Glenn said. “It is about … connecting with the people you love, which I think is kind of universal. I think it is great in a year of COVID where maybe we’ve been less connected.”
Schuster said the shows are about the contrasting personalities and friendship of the characters. In the male version of the show, the main characters are Felix Ungar, played by Bogner, and Oscar Madison, played by Schimmer.
Inverse to the male show, the female show main characters are Florence Ungar — played by Rosalyn Schuster, and Olive Madison — played by senior Susan Hardy.
With two separate casts, the directors and casts have had to find a balance between rehearsals. Rehearsals switch between which cast rehearses on stage and which cast rehearses in the classroom.
To abide by social distancing, understudies and both casts rehearse separately from each other. Other precautionary measures include regular temperature checks and masking.
“We rehearse completely masked,” Glenn said. “During the show, they will perform without masks on, but they will put masks on as soon as they go backstage.”
With the first show approaching nearer, seniors and lead roles from both casts have high expectations for the performance.
“My expectations are for it to be the best that it can be,” Bogner said. “I mean, it’s my last hoorah on this stage. I am going to make it the best it can possibly be.”
Hardy said she expects the show to be funny and received well by the audience.
“I’ve seen the amount of fun that we’ve had, and I expect that the audience will have fun too,” Hardy said. “It’s my senior year. I want to go out on a bang.”