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‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Challenges Lee Students

Two lovers, a dentist on laughing gas, a greedy florist shop owner, and a man-eating plant, all this must be Robert E. Lee High School’s Lancer Theatre production of their Cappies musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Seymour, the clumsy employee of Mushnik’s Flower Shop on Skid Row, is in love with his coworker, Audrey. After no business for the shop, Mr. Mushnik decides to close the shop. In hope that Seymour and Audrey would save their jobs, they propose to put a “strange and unusual plant” in the window to attract business. This unspecified plant, which Seymour names “Audrey II,” begins to bring in the bucks till it suddenly begins to wilt and spurt. Soon, Seymour finds the one way to keep this money making plant alive, feed it blood. When Seymour becomes unable to feed the plant any longer, the plant persuades him to kill people and feed them to it, promising that it will bring him love, happiness, rewards, even Audrey. Unfortunately for Seymour, Audrey II breaks his promise and has totally different plans.

Audrey II is a challenge that Lee High School is proud to work with. “Little Shop will require lots of focus and practice, especially since there is so much character interaction with a plant, not a person,” said senior Jasmine Coles, who not only stars as Audrey, but is also lead choreographer. The Audrey II puppeteer is senior Brittney Custer and the voice of the plant is done by senior Matt Taguding. “One of the top things that we have to master is matching the singing lips of Audrey II to my voice offstage,” said Taguding.

Another challenge that Lee Theatre students are working with is the unique set design by senior Zach Lepine. “The set for ‘Little Shop’ includes moving flats onstage which display the outside and inside of Mushnik’s Flower Shop, as well as a platform that will be extended into the audience from downstage. That way, the audience can feel as if they are really on Skid Row, making them part of the production,” said Lepine.

One necessity in putting together any production is the role of the director. This year, Lee High School has a new theatre director, Allen Carrington Brooks. Brooks is part of the 2004 class from Christopher Newport University. With a degree in Theatre Arts, he brings a wealth of knowledge to Lancer Theatre. When asked what he thought about teaching high school theatre for the first time, Brooks said, “I’m certainly excited about this new challenge, directing in and of itself is considerably different from acting, and directing high schoolers is a whole different world!”

A singing, man-eating plant and an amazing cast and crew will only account for “Little Shop of Horrors” to be a night of fun for the entire family.