Shaler Area Middle School sets the stage for comedic fall play
Sunday, October 20, 2019 | 12:01 AM
Audiences will view Christopher Columbus’ ship, attend the Declaration of Independence’s signing, witness the telephone’s invention and observe the first moon landing during Shaler Area Middle School’s fall play.
“Almost History: That Whole Space Time Continuum Thing” tells the story of news anchor Sandra (performed by eighth-grader Ava Bardakos) and her science consultant Melvin (eighth-grader Max Milligan), who utilize Melvin’s graphing calculator to travel through glitches in the space-time continuum, aiming to livestream some of history’s most notable events. Of course, the duo interferes in ways that could alter the present. Audiences will have to tune in during shows at 7 p.m. Oct. 25, and 2 p.m. Oct. 26, to see if Sandra and Melvin are able to correct history’s course.
“We had done a lot of fairy tale, story-based stuff, and I wanted something that they could still relate to and have some knowledge about. I like history and the humor (of this play),” said director Melissa Goetz, a Shaler Area special-education teacher.
Michaela Brining, Shaler Area High School student director, and Kristen Paul, stage manager, are assisting Goetz with the production written by Treanor Baring.
Although it is a play, students perform a history-themed rap with accompaniment provided by Theatrefolk drama resource company.
Ava Bardakos said that she and Max Milligan, as Sandra and Melvin, respectively, strive to “interview the great minds of history and see what they’re all about” and “make a show for the audience that they can enjoy and learn about history.”
Her favorite scene involves pretending she is in “outer space” for the moon landing.
Max enjoys some of the great comedy.
“My favorite is scene five because we take some of the greatest minds in history and bring them to the present,” Max said, noting that he and Sandra bribe the intellectuals with coffee drinks.
“They sword fight with the stirrers because they don’t know what to do with them. It’s just so funny,” he said.
Greyson Pilarski, 13, plays John Adams opposite real-life friend Emma Lombardozzi, 13, as Thomas Jefferson portraying the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers fight over who gets to sign the document first.
“You become a family, and with the fight scenes, I wouldn’t feel so strongly if I didn’t have one of my best friends, like, us going at it. We kind of play it into like how a friend would fight. … It makes it more natural to do it, because, you know, friends fight,” Emma said.
Twenty-seven students are cast and 10 are crew members.
“I’ve noticed that I’m not the worst at acting and ever since I was little, my sister, she would do musicals and plays, and she kind of showed me what it’s like to do that stuff,” Max said. “So, I tried out in sixth grade and I’ve done everything since then. And it’s just been something that I’ve loved doing.”
This is Greyson’s first year participating in a school theatrical production.
“I need excitement in my life and being out on stage and making everyone smile, it just makes me happy.”
If you go:
What: Shaler Area Middle School presents “Almost History: That Whole Space Time Continuum Thing”
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 25 and 2 p.m. Oct. 26. Senior citizens may attend dress rehearsal 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24.
Where: Shaler Area Middle School Auditorium, 1810 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw
Tickets: $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $3 for students. Tickets for senior citizen dress rehearsal are $2 or free with Titan Pass.