Jefferson High School student-directed play to debut this weekend
Neighborhood Sampling, directed by Alexandria’s Jefferson High School (JHS) senior Tyler Carlson, will debut Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Discovery Middle School auditorium in Alexandria.
Written by JHS theater director Jessica Chipman, Neighborhood Sampling is a comedy about the interconnectivity of the human experience.
The play begins with teenager Jeremy climbing through his bedroom window, having just stolen a woman’s purse. Little does he know the woman’s husband followed him to his second-floor window.
The story follows Jeremy, his mother and five other characters, including a man wearing a unicorn costume, whose paths intersect.
The idea for a student-directed, student-produced production arose last school year when JHS theater officers were brainstorming ideas for fundraisers.
The concept is that theater students will raise money doing something that has educational value and real-world application.
When Carlson approached Chipman last spring about working with her as a part of his JHS career mentorship class, the idea grew.
Carlson had to develop a play without a budget, which meant finding an unproduced play that would not require paid production rights. He read a number of titles, including one that Chipman started in a graduate school class, Neighborhood Sampling.
After receiving school board approval for the fundraiser last spring, Carlson prepared all year to direct the play, developing a rehearsal schedule, director’s concept, prompt book, and prop and costume plot. The he assembled the cast and crew.
“I have seen Tyler balance his rehearsals with respect for the artistry of his actors and his own directing goals,” Chipman said. “His greatest strength has been his careful consideration of how to handle any situation that has come his way.”
Carlson plans to study acting and directing at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy’s New York City campus in the fall.
Tickets cost $5 for students and $6 for adults. All proceeds go to the JHS Theatre Department.
Jeremy – Daniel Roers
Jeremy’s mother – Christa Wysoski
Additional cast – Sam Christenson, Katy Niemeyer, Tristen Chamberlin, Haley Wegner, Clayton Forester
Director – Tyler Carlson
Set design – Spencer Vogel
Stage manager – Katie Gripne
Props master – Annika Peck
Costume design – Madison Nowling-Kjellberg