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The show goes on at Gering High School
September 24, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Minnie Fay (Sheridan Blanco) is shocked to find Cornelius Hackl (Collin Potts) hiding in the wardrobe as Mrs. Malloy (Carsyn Long) tries to pull her away. Gering High School students will present “The Matchmaker” on Nov. 13-14 in memory of Jason DeMaranville, who directed the fall show for so many years.

The adage “the show must go on” holds true as Gering High School students take to the stage for their fall play in November. But an important part of the show will be missing.

Social studies teacher Jason DeMaranville, who directed the fall show for decades, passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 24. Over the summer, he had chosen Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker” for performances on Nov. 13-14. He had planned cast auditions for after Labor Day, and had some students in mind for parts – but that time never came.
Yvonne Smith, who teaches 7th and 8th grade English at the junior high and has directed several one-act plays, was asked to step in and direct the show. Her co-director will be Marlaina Seay, who has extensive background in set design.

After DeMaranville’s death, Gering School Superintendent Bob Hastings approached Smith about directing the show. “I told him I would be interested, but not by myself,” she said. “This is a four-act play, which I’d never done before.”
After meeting with students who had been in DeMaranville’s previous shows, she realized they were determined to present the show in honor of ‘Mr. D.’

“The kids absolutely wanted to do the play Jason had selected,” Smith said. “Whether there were adults to direct it or if they had to do it themselves, they were going to do Mr. D’s play in his memory.”

She told the kids she couldn’t do a show like Jason would, as he couldn’t be replaced. “I told them we would do our best to do a wonderful play he would be proud of. The cast has been so mature about the whole process and going with the flow. Their biggest thing is they want to honor him.”

Co-director Marlaina Seay said many of the kids have already worked with Mr. D and know his style. They also knew where to find costumes, props and scenery for the show. “We’re utilizing all their help and knowledge as we sift through what the theater has to work with. Yvonne and I are new to this, so it’s helpful to have the kids walk us through the process.”

Seay also said she was impressed by the professional attitude the cast is maintaining. “They came prepared to do the work and want to make Jason proud. They want to show everyone what they’ve learned from him.”
Sophomore Carsyn Long, who plays Mrs. Malloy, said her first experience working with Mr. D was during last year’s musical production, “Anything Goes.” She was also on the speech team he helped coach.
“Mr. D was so kind to all of us,” she said. “After he helped me with one of my speeches, I made it into the finals, so that was pretty cool.”
She added that this year’s show was completely new without the familiar Mr. D in the director’s chair. But the cast is up for the challenge.

“For me, I want to build closer relationships with the cast,” she said. “We’re going to pull this off for sure and I’ll keep the relationships throughout my high school career.”

“The Matchmaker” is a fun farce that was written as a prelude to “Hello Dolly.” It’s the story of Dolly Levi, who’s determined to marry the very wealthy Horace Vandergelder. How she gets him to propose makes for some funny situations and great laughs.

The cast includes Allie Baird as Dolly Levi, Amanda Horrocks as August, Becky Boyd as Flora Van Huysen, Brock Belgum as Malachi Stack, Carsyn Long as Mrs. Molloy, Collin Potts as Cornelius Hackl, Davan Hawkins as Gertrude, Ethan Parks as the cabman, Jaycee Rice as the cook, Jazmine Cruz as the musician, Jim Eastman as Ambrose, Jon Hastings as Horace Vandergelder, Kaitlyn Wilson as the musician, Karina Clark as Josephine, Keagan Heilbrun as Barnaby Tucker, Kristian Hughes as Rudolf, Sheridan Blanco as Minnie Fay and Sydney Havengar as Ermengarde.

The crew includes Dawson Johns, Kira Wysocki, Landon Vacha and Sarah Wagoner.
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