"After Twilight," directed by Tyler Van Houten and written by former Centreville High student Ben Myers, takes the stage 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 showcasing four, one-act student-directed plays. Tickets are $4 at the door.
"AFTER TWILIGHT" is the love story of married couple Lawrence and Jessica, played by Mickey DeVito and Sarah Langan, respectively. The play chronicles particular times during their lives. It shows Lawrence proposing to Jessica, her telling him she's pregnant with twins, the couple arguing, the time when his father dies and another segment where the lovers are out walking and something major happens.
Langan, 17, says Jessica's basically a happy person. Although strong-willed and dominating their relationship, she and Lawrence understand each other well and are goofy and tender toward each other.
"I can relate to the relationship," said Langan. "It's the kind I hope to have when I get married because they're so happy." The most difficult part of her role, she said, is that her character's older than she is and "I haven't experienced those life-changing moments, yet."
The best part, she said, is the fun Jessica has when she's with Lawrence — "being that consumed with somebody." She believes the audience will really like the show because "it's a serious play, but sweet, and very real."
DeVito, 17, describes Lawrence as someone who "always wants to do the right thing. He doesn't always react to things in the smartest way." But he says his role is great and a lot of fun. "It's really enjoyable to play a character that's sort of blissfully ignorant," he said.
The toughest part, he said, is showing "the amount of growth and acceptance the character undergoes, in such a short time." But that's also what makes him like this role: "It's a challenge — the kind I like as an actor."
DeVito said the show will leave the audience feeling good, in a bittersweet kind of way and "they'll like the reality of the relationship of the two main characters."
As director, Van Houten, a senior, makes sure his actors are able "to get inside the heads of these characters and the world the playwright has created. Ben Myers wrote a really good script."
Although initially apprehensive about directing because he's acted, the past four years, he's enjoying it. "I fell into it pretty smoothly, and I think I'm doing a good job," he said. "I have people who are easy to work with, and I could not have asked for a better first-directing experience."
AS LAWRENCE tells the story of his relationship with Jessica, explained Van Houten, "What I really want to get across is that Lawrence has an idea of why people live. To him, it's Jessica. So the play's about finding that person or thing you can hold onto, and I think it's a really sweet idea."
He said that's what originally attracted him to the script. And, he added, "I think, if I can get a handful of people to leave the theater with a better appreciation of the person next to them, then I've done my job and the actors have done theirs."