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‘And Then There Were None’ comes soon to Frontier Regional

  • Frontier Regional School students rehearse “And Then There Were None,” a play by the school’s theater club, on Monday afternoon. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Frontier Regional School eighth-grader Leo Franceschi reads lines while rehearsing “And Then There Were None,” a play by the school’s drama club, Monday afternoon. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • A poster for "And Then There Were None," a play by the school's theater club, Monday afternoon, Nov. 20, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo



For the Gazette
Thursday, November 23, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — A few dozen students from Frontier Regional School’s drama club lounged on the school’s stage Monday afternoon talking about their day, and “getting rid of any garbage” in preparation for rehearsal.

“Check-in is to get everyone into a good space,” said David Peck, director of the school’s upcoming drama, “And Then There Were None,” which opens Dec. 1. Peck stood below the stage watching the students interact. In addition to directing the play, Peck is adviser for the drama club, which fluctuates in membership between 10 and 25 students at bi-weekly meetings.

“Usually, we do comedies. But we wanted to do something different this year,” he continued. The play, adapted from Agatha Christie’s 1939 mystery novel, follows 10 people trapped in one place who are methodically murdered.

Frontier Regional School hosts a few plays each year. Most recently, in August, Peck directed a modern adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Country Players Youth Theater. Some students who performed in that production are also in “And Then There Were None.”

“Our theater program provides wonderful opportunities for our students,” said Principal Darius Modestow. “Certainly, the students participating in the production learn great skills ranging from communication to self-confidence, but our students who view the productions also learn by getting exposure to different things like the time periods or cultures that a play is set in.”

This weekend’s performance will culminate the joint efforts of about 20 middle and high school students, many of whom have roles behind the scenes as stage crew.

“For a lot of kids theater is a great outlet,” Peck said, noting theater, which is sometimes overlooked in favor of sports, gives students a safe place to explore complex emotions.

The drama club’s pre-rehearsal check-in ritual creates that safe place by serving a twofold purpose. First, it helps students “get into character,” Peck explained. But on a deeper level, check-in fosters lasting connections between students.

“Especially today, people are trying to find who they are,” said Phaelon Koski, a Frontier Regional School junior who plays Philip Lombard in the play. “Because drama club and theater is very open, it’s a good place to let people be who they want to be.”

Personally, Koski said theater has helped him learn to adapt when things don’t go as expected — both on the stage and off. “You stop worrying about things after a while,” Koski added.

Theater also plays an important role in broader society, according to eighth-grader Sadie Ross, the play’s assistant director.

“Keeping as much art and community in schools and the world we live in today — with politics and conflict — is really important because (theater) brings people together,” Ross said.

Come next week, Frontier Regional School’s student play will do just that by bringing Deerfield’s small town community under one roof. “And Then There Were None” opens Friday night, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. Through the weekend, showings will be held Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday there will be a matinee performance at 2 p.m.

Admission for all the shows is $5 at the door. The play’s full cast includes: Noah Babb; Ava Harper; Phaelon Koski; Joey Lawton; Genesis Locke; Emily Menard; Darian Myers; Lexi Noga; Mackenzie Pitittieri; Joe Thomson; and Eric Trueswell.