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Performing Panthers performance a big hit

By CAROLINE CARMICHAEL / Staff Writer

The Performing Panthers drama clubs of Jemison Intermediate and Middle schools performed two humorous plays on March 22, inspiring chuckles and applause from their audience.

“I’m excited,” director Jillena Smets announced to the audience. “We finally made it!”

The students had been practicing the plays since they returned from Christmas break.

“They have worked extremely hard. They have learned to go with the flow, for sure,” Smets said. “We’ve made a lot of changes on the sly, and they adapted, and they went right on with it. So, I’m very proud of them.”

The Jemison Intermediate School drama club, featuring several Jemison Middle School actors, performed “The Gingerbread Girl” by D.M. Larson.

The play was a spoof from the play “The Gingerbread Man” and begins where “The Gingerbread Man” had concluded.

A variety of storybook characters, including Bo Peep and her sheep, Mary and her little lamb, and the Gingerbread Man, took to the stage and performed the silly tale.

Scenes incorporated comedic parallels to Frankenstein, including an almost villainous baker with a sidekick named Igor. These characters were warned about the mischief that might follow should the gingerbread girl be brought to life.

With a dramatic placement of magical gumdrops on her gingerbread frock, she was.

Gracie Ledbetter, who played Mary’s little lamb, said she enjoyed being a lamb. She had mastered a lamb bleat, and her sneaky stalking maneuvers toward Mary and her sassy mannerisms brought chuckles from the audience.

Gracie also played the character Homer in the JMS play that followed.

The JMS Performing Panthers, also featuring JIS actors, presented “The Hysterical History of the Trojan War” by D.M. Larson.

Characters engaged the audience, instructing cued interactions with the characters throughout the play. The audience was split into two sections: Troy and Sparta. When cued, respective sections would shout either “Troy!” or “Sparta!”

Adding several modern flares to the historical tale were comedic cell phone usages between Greek gods Apollo and Zeus, as well as parodies of famous songs, such as Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” “The Brady Bunch” theme song and “The Song that Never Ends”.

These were performed by Homer and his Homerettes, who provided narrations with their songs.

Several Homerette actresses said “The Brady Bunch” theme song parody was the hardest because they had not heard the original song prior to learning it.

“First, we had to learn the original Brady Bunch song to be able to do that,” Gracie, who led the Homerettes as Homer, said.

Cast members said their favorite moments in the play included the death of Hector and the Homerettes’ parodies.

Levi Burchfield said his stage entrance as Lord Agamemnon was his favorite part. Levi, wearing only black, had marched onto stage to “The Imperial March” music from Star Wars — taking a commanding stance and implementing his dark powers with Darth Vader flare.

Levi said “It was exciting” to finally perform after working so hard on the play.

After the performance, cast members from both plays autographed programs.