Children's Play, 'A Fish Story,' This Weekend at Chantilly

Children's Play, 'A Fish Story,' This Weekend at Chantilly

Something's fishy at Chantilly High — its new, children's play,

"A Fish Story: A Young Man's Search for the Truth."

It will be presented this Friday, June 1, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 2, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, June 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Featuring 60 in the cast and 20 in the crew, it's a huge production that will appeal to all ages. And they'll all be laughing.

"THERE ARE jokes for both the little ones and the adults," said Director Shannon Khatcheressian. "It'll keep the whole family entertained. It's such a crazy, zany storyline, and the writing is just ingenious and creative."

It's the story of a man named Tim and is told as a flashback of his life, beginning when he's a teen. And sophomore Andrew Dugan plays teen-age Tim — who definitely has problems.

"He believes his uncle is a fish and he tries to tell everyone, but they won't believe him — not even his family," said Dugan. "He thinks this because, at family get-togethers, his uncle is always sitting in fishbowls in water. At first, he noticed his uncle drank like a fish. And then he saw that he really was a fish — with gills and a tail."

Dugan says it's a great role to play because "Tim knows he's right and tries to find out why no one will believe him. So it shows that, if you don't know about something, always try to find the answer because, eventually, you will — even if it's not the answer you were expecting."

He said the humor is among the best he's seen in a children's show. "It's kind of random, but everyone will enjoy it," said Dugan.

Portraying teen Tim's girlfriend Nicole is Christina Smillie, 16. "She's very freaked out about natural disasters and is very quirky," said Smillie. "And I do her with a lisp, so she's kind of a dork, but she's cute — I like her."

She said Nicole is a "really fun character" and now, "I do the voice when talking to my family. And I like it that she's so quirky." She said the toughest part is "getting the words out when I do the lisp. Also, there's a part where I'm in a staring contest, so I have to try really hard not to blink."

Overall, said Smillie, the audience will like the show because "the plotline is very imaginative and it's fun to hear how the characters interact with each other because it's not how they'd do it in real life."

SENIOR ANDY TIPPIE plays adult Tim at age 25. "He's kind of a nervous wreck," said Tippie. "He doesn't know how to explain his uncle to everyone. In the beginning of the play, he talks to a psychiatrist about his belief that his uncle is a fish. And the story tells what he's gone through from ages 9-16."

Tippie loves his role because "even though it's a children's show, my character isn't childish. He acts like a real adult, while everyone else acts like a child — even the doctors." He said it's hard being on stage the whole play and remembering so many lines, but he's up for the task.

Most of all, he said, "I just love acting. It's just so much fun and really cool to go on stage and have the pressure on you while people in the audience are waiting for you to deliver something good." As for the show, said Tippie, "It's pretty much, nonstop laughs — there's always something funny."

Playing Cap'n Tory is sophomore Michael Poandl. "I'm a pirate captain and also an accountant," he said. "I wear a suit but, from the neck up, I wear an eye patch and a pirate hat and talk like a pirate."

When teen-age Tim wants to go to sea and join a band of pirates, Cap'n Tory hitches a ride with Tim in his car. "We eventually get to the sea — Lake Huron — and bump into Capt. Blackbeard, another pirate."

Poandl says his part is "really fun. I just love talking in a pirate voice. I say, 'Darrrr,' a lot and tell a scary story to Tim. The hardest thing is the walk I'm trying to limp like a pirate." He, too, says the audience will enjoy the show: "The humor is sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek."

Brieann Anderson, 16, portrays Dr. Soandso, who wears a white jacket, Hawaiian shirt and scuba gear. "I'm a kooky oceanographer, really crazy, with an up-and-down personality," explained Anderson. "But I like it; it fits me."

She's also glad to be in this play because it's her last children's show. Only Drama I and II students can be in them and, next year, she'll be in Drama III so, she said, "It's nice to have a big character."

ANDERSON SAID she, too, has lots of lines to memorize, but she's pleased because she thinks the audience will laugh at her character, like it's supposed to. Regarding the play, she said, "It's a good cast and everyone's talented, so the audience will like it. And kids like crazy and outrageous stuff."

Freshman Brian Miller plays Dr. Phillips, the psychiatrist. Adult Tim comes and tells him the story of his childhood so he can try to figure out what's wrong with him.

"He's a German psychiatrist and is smart, cultured, a little more reserved than the other characters, and he has a beard," said Miller. He said his role is lots of fun because "it gives me a chance to work with a different voice — a German accent — and I get to play around with different mannerisms."

Miller also likes getting the chance to be someone else on stage and says Phillips is an interesting character to be. The toughest thing for him, he said, is "remembering to keep in character, even when I'm not talking."

As for the show, he said, "It's really wacky. All the characters are goofy, so it'll be really funny. And in a children's show, you get the chance to be less serious on stage than usual."

Director Khatcheressian said she had a "wonderful turnout" of students wanting to do costumes, makeup, hair design and props. "The students really stepped up, and it's a great way for them to explore all aspects of theater," she said. "And our student stage manager, Jessica Dolezal, is just fabulous. She's been my right arm throughout this entire production."

Khatcheressian said her actors, too, are "doing a really good job. They've only had one month to rehearse, but they're prepared and have been really productive. I'm really impressed with them."