Directed by Molly MacKenzie, "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is on the playbill at Centreville High, Friday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m., in the school theater.
It's part of Centreville's Dramapalooza — a one-act play festival highlighting four, student-directed plays. Tickets are $4 at the door.
A comedy, "For Whom ..." is a spoof of "The Glass Menagerie" and stars Brian Marchetti and Sarah Lilburn as Lawrence and Amanda, respectively. Lawrence is in his mid-20s/early 30s, lives at home and is convinced he has every ailment known to man. Amanda, a widow, is his mother.
"SHE WANTS to get him out of the house, so she has her older son Tom — Nate Betancourt — bring home a girl from the warehouse — Victoria Badecker," said MacKenzie, 17. "But it all turns into chaos, all hell breaks loose and nothing goes as planned."
Marchetti, a junior, describes Lawrence as a simple person who's borderline mentally challenged. "He has a collection of glass cocktail stirrers, and he loves to show them to everybody," said Marchetti. "He's also a hypochondriac who thinks he has all these ailments. He even walks with a limp."
He's fun to play, said Marchetti, because "it's just such an off-the-wall character. You have to play him with such simplicity, and out of that comes comedy. It's difficult playing it as a serious role, but it's great because he's such a weirdo and such a random character."
All in all, he said, "I think the audience will not stop laughing because the entire cast is so cohesive and plays off each other's comedy."
Lilburn, a senior, says Amanda is kind of two-sided. "She'll be yelling at her kids, but she really loves them," she explained. "Yet she wants both boys to move out so she can have her life. She's in her mid-40s and wants to go out and party, meet people and have fun."
Amanda especially wants Lawrence to leave, she said, because he's so strange. Said Lilburn: "She tries setting him up on dates, but something always goes wrong and she's back where she started."
SHE LIKES her role a lot because her character "can be really angry, but then she can put on a phony happy face when a date comes in, so she can get Lawrence out." Lilburn said the most difficult thing about her part is trying to show Amanda's contrasts — she's one way with her family and another way with everyone else.
But, she added, "It's a lot of fun to play it and be part of the cast. And there's not a dull moment in the whole play. The audience will be so into it because there's always somebody doing or saying something for them to be interested in."
As director, MacKenzie explains the characters to the actors and tells them where to move. "I make sure they look good on stage," she said. "I'm the picture-maker." At Centreville, it's traditional for seniors to direct one-act plays, and she wanted to do it since she was a freshman.
"I thought it would be a change of pace, and I wanted to try it," she said. "I love it because I get to interact more with the actors, and I feel like I have more input into the show now and it's more of my creation."