HAZARD — Three years ago, a group of student’s at Hazard High School decided to start a drama club. They had no budget, no materials and, basically, no idea what venue they could use to produce stage-plays for the public. Luke Glaser, a teacher at Hazard High School, volunteered to lead these students in their endeavor. Now, that same drama club, which started with nothing more to fuel it than the will power of a few teenagers and the support of a caring teacher, is scheduling performances on a seasonal basis and they have produced plays that range in style from melodrama to comedy.
Theater lovers will once again have the opportunity to experience a Hazard High School production on March 25 and March 26, as HHS Drama presents The Red Velvet Cake War; a comedy written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. All of the performances will take place in the Hal Rogers Forum. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. on March 25, with two performances scheduled on March 26 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The cost for tickets is 10 dollars for adults and 5 dollars for children and students, with all proceeds going to Hazard High School Drama.
People who attend the March 25 performance will receive an extra treat. Hazard High School Drama is hosting a Red Velvet Bake-off that evening during the play. The bake-off is open to anyone who thinks their red velvet recipe has what it takes to be the star of the show. Celebrity judges have been invited to take part in the contest. The judging will happen during the play’s intermission.
Stacie Fugate, Hannah Whitaker and Taylor Williams are three of the students working on The Red Velvet Cake War for Hazard High School Drama. The girls describe this play as, “A southern fried comedy about a family reunion in Texas. It’s got a lot of jokes in it. We think this play is really hilarious, but we aren’t going to give away the ending. You’ll have to come watch the show for that.”
Hazard High School Drama is an ideal educational program to have in a local school because the students involved are given the ability to learn, hands-on, about nearly every aspect of the theater experience. Not only did students start the program, but they also oversee its development. Student participation is not limited to only acting and set construction. Students also make decisions as to what plays will be produced and how the budget for each play will be spent. The students create lighting and costume designs, and they also handle the marketing campaigns for each play. Luke Glaser is there to provide direction and teach techniques that will help his students develop their skills; skills that will not only benefit them on stage, but will also benefit them in life.
“All of the logistical things are ran by students,” Hannah Whitaker said of the HHS Drama Program, “So, as students, we learn so much more in this situation because we don’t have someone doing it for us. We are learning how to do it ourselves, and I think that is really awesome.”
“Public speaking is mandatory in life.” Stacie Fugate said, when talking about the positive impact HHS Drama has had on her, “Through the theater projects I have been involved with, I have grown so much as a public speaker. I am so glad I made the decision to do theater because now I am not afraid to go in front of anyone and speak. I know that what I am saying is important and I am not afraid to say it. I have theater to thank for that.”
“Theater gives you stronger community ties,” Taylor Williams responded, “And it is important, especially here, for the community to come together and support each other.”
Theater’s power to create stronger community ties is not only represented by the words of Taylor Williams. It is evident in HHS Drama’s actions, as well. Students in the program shared praise and respect for the theater group in their crosstown rival high school; The Commodore Players of Perry County Central. According to the drama students at Hazard, this respect and support is mutual, as The Commodore Players also reach out to them with words of encouragement during HHS productions.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Luke Glaser said of his drama students, “This thing could really run itself without me here. I am here to offer some suggestions. But the fact that this pretty much runs itself is a testament to the passion and the responsibility that these kids have. Those are talents that they are going to be able to take way past high school, be that acting on stage or learning just how much detail has to go into planning an event or running a successful program.”
For more information about Hazard High School’s performance of The Red Velvet Cake War, or to enter the Red Velvet Bake-off, search Hazard High School Drama on Facebook or send an email to [email protected] The deadline for contestants to enter the bake-off is March 23. Hazard High School Drama is also selling sponsorship advertisements to go in the program for the play. Anyone interested in sponsorship can send an email to Hazard High School Drama for further details.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.