EXETER — Fall time means one thing for the Wyoming Area Drama Club — show time!
The Wyoming Area Drama Club, Thespian Troupe #4795 is hard at work preparing for its fall production “Boeing Boeing,” set to take the stage Friday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 19.
“We’re feeling really good,” said senior student Genevieve Federici, vice president of the Wyoming Area Drama Club, about preparing for the show.
“Boeing Boeing” takes place in the 1960s and revolves around a character named Bernard who lives in a flat in Paris and has three fiancés who don’t know about each other.
Bernard’s life gets bumpy when his friend Robert comes to stay, and a new, speedier Boeing jet disrupts his careful planning, causing all three fiancés to be in the city simultaneously.
Federici, 17, plays Bertha, a French maid, while her cousin Tommy Walkowiak, also a senior student, plays Robert.
“He’s very quirky and nerdy,” Walkowiak, 17, said of his character. “He’s being exposed to this really extravagant lifestyle Bernard is leading with his three fiancés and trying to maintain this secret that they’re all his only one. He’s never really had a girlfriend, probably, so it’s all very new to him and he’s trying to keep his cool and trying to cover up his friend’s secret.”
Because Federici’s character is French, she’ll be speaking with a French accent in her performance. She has studied French for three years and is working with dialect coaches to maintain her accent.
She said the biggest challenge is not mimicking other accents.
“There are so many different accents and it all comes together, so you have to keep your own accent without copying another one,” she said.
While Federici and Walkowiak are adjusting to their characters, they’re also adjusting to their third club moderator in three years.
Chuck Yarmey took over for Baraba Bullions, a retired Wyoming Area teacher, who took over last year for Sarah Pellegrini.
He’s worked as the assistant moderator as well as the technical director but, when Bullions retired, he was asked to step up to the plate.
“There was a need and it’s tough to find people to put in this many hours,” he said.
Yarmey got involved with the drama club because his daughter was a member and played the lead role in “the Diary of Anne Frank” her sophomore year.
“My wife suggested to me that I come in and help build sets since my daughter was going to be the lead in that show,” he said. “When I got here, because of my background in carpentry, I found I was very helpful with what they needed. I came back for the next show, helped build sets and, after that, the club advisor asked me to come on as the assistant advisor and technical director.”
Yarmey’s daughter graduated two years ago. He was going to leave the drama club when she did, but he said the students keep pulling him back in.
On top of being club moderator, Yarmey continues his technical director duties which include designing sets, lighting and sound check.
Juggling that many responsibilities he said has proven to be a daunting task, which is why he brought in former Wyoming Area student and drama club member Kate Mangan to be the director.
Her son Gabe was asked to be part of a show two years ago when he was 7, and Mangan told the club members if they ever needed her for anything to let her know.
Yarmey took her up on her offer.
“(I feel) really nostalgic,” Mangan said about being back with the drama club. “I spent a lot of time on that stage, in these halls, and drama was an every year thing for me.”
Mangan is a 1999 graduate and majored in drama at Temple University where she also took classes in directing.
She directed “How I Learned to Drive” in York and also has experience working with costume and electrics for Blue Man Group.
Being the club’s third director in three years, Mangan understands it can be frustrating for the older students to undergo so many changes.
“I always want to have an open communication,” she said. “I ask them what they’re used to, how they feel they learn best and I think it’s important to know your audience — where you’ve come from, what you’re dealing with, and what their expectations are of you and how to proceed. I want to make sure they feel comfortable but instill trust in myself that I know what’s going to work out best.”
Show time is only days away, and everyone is about as ready as they feel they can be.
For both Walkowiak and Federici, this is their last fall performance.
“I’m just trying to soak it all in,” Walkowiak said. “Although, I might get frustrated that I can’t remember every line perfectly; it’s my last experience doing this. I’m extremely grateful for the cast I have, the director and everyone else that is putting their all into this show.”