The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






"Curtains Up"

at Walker Valley High School

by Alexandra Edwards

Every now and then, as a special treat, parents and grandparents get the opportunity to witness first hand the result of the hard work and dedication their school-age students have invested with hours of voluntary extra curricular school activities.

One of these occasions occurred last month when the Walker Valley High School Drama Club presented  "Chateau La Roach"  an award winning comic farce written by Lauren Wilson. The play which was divided into two acts and ran for three nights, was a great success attracting an audience of over 650.

For those who missed seeing this hilarious play, the plot was as follows:

Alexandra Edwards

"Chateau La Roach" is a comedy which takes place in a small American lakeside hotel called Chateau Laroche. French proprietors Francois and Mimi Laroche, are horrified to discover that the hotel is being over-run by cockroaches! Some important guests are due to arrive for the weekend and on top of that, they've learned that a health inspector is making a surprise visit and will be disguised as a typical guest. A pest exterminator is brought in to try and kill the creepy roaches, while the wacky hotel staff struggle to hide the problem from the incoming visitors. With nobody knowing which guest is the health inspector, problems escalate and the roaches grow bigger!

All the characters were exceptionally well played and kept the audience amused for over two hours.

The cast of Chateau La Roach from Left to right.
Top row: David Dyrek, Ronnie Zircon, Lindsey Jo Brown, Morgan Browning, Matt Fisher, Christina Chambers, Aimee Adsit, Davis Campbell.
Middle row standing: Gaby Lajas, Mallory Wyatt, Sarah Johns, Tyler Lasseter.
Bottom row seated: Erika Kock, Alex Wallis, Whitney McDonald, Tanner Hunt, Jade Taylor, Chase Bennett.

The cast of 18 included; Matt Fisher who played the character of hotel proprietor Francois Laroche who brought to mind a French version of John Cleese playing Basil Fawlty in the British TV comedy Fawlty Towers. Mimi Laroche, played by Morgan Browning as a cool, sensible wife with a charming European accent. The hotel staff consisted of a clumsy, forgetful bellhop played by Tyler Lasseter; Davis Campbell as a hot blooded Italian Chef and Gaby Lajas, a panicky elevator operator. Christiana Chambers and Aimee Adsit played the very sweet but wacky maid and waitress and Chase Bennett the part of the pest exterminator. The guests included a newlywed couple played by Jade Taylor and Tanner Hunt, a wealthy widow with her physic advisor played by Mallory Wyatt and Sarah Johns. There was a zany British cyclist played by David Dyrek, a bratty ten year old child star with his snooty

Hollywood manager played by Jonathan Pendergrass and Lindsey Jo Brown. The hotel guest cast also included a famed travel writer played by Ericka Kock and a Nun played by Whitney McDonald. Alex Wallis was both the giant cockroach and the rat which was discovered at the end of the last scene after all the

roaches had been finally exterminated.

Back stage during the dress rehearsal before the first performance, the cast seemed prepared and exited as they each explained their character parts. The technical crew consisting of 20 students were equally enthusiastic, testing sound effects, lighting, curtains and props. Director, Nat Akiona, English and Theater Arts teacher at Walker Valley, kept his cool as he made final adjustments to the set. Student director Amy Goble and stage manager Hannah Tickel conducted final checks of costumes and make up.

For some members of the drama club this was their first performance, like 9th grader Chase Bennett, who played the exterminator. Asked if he felt a little nervous he said, "Just a little, but I have really enjoyed doing this play and have always

wanted to be on stage." Many of the cast were seasoned student actors and intend to pursue their careers in theater. "I love acting and I am going on to NYCU, in the hope of becoming  an actress." said 10th grade, Aimee Adsit, who's acting talent was displayed as the character of the waitress. David Dyrek (9th grade) seemed positive about his future career in acting and writing too.  He said, "I feel very comfortable playing the part of the British cyclist as I went to school in England for three years, so the accent came easy for me." Although some admitted to being a little nervous, they all felt confident of their parts and enjoyed the comedy in the script. The players also praised their drama teacher/director Mr. Akiona for his patience and guidance.

The Drama club, which consists 40-45 members, meet once a month and typically put on two performances a year, a musical in the Spring and a comedy in the fall. "We started rehearsing  for "Chateau La Roach" in early October and had around 20-30 rehearsals,"

said assistant director Sherry Everette, new faculty member of the drama club. "We have all really enjoyed working together. Both the cast and technical crew have done great." she said.

It was learned that several students in the drama club were also members of the school band or Color Guard, which will be leaving for a one week trip to London, England on December 27th to perform in the New Year's Day Parade there.

If the Walker Valley students perform in band as well as they

do in drama,  they will be impressive ambassadors for Bradley County and Tennessee.

And for those of our readers that like to be entertained in a theater setting, plan to catch the next production by the Walker Valley High School Drama Club. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.