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Courtroom drama takes shape for weekend shows at Lisbon
April 20, 2017 · Nathan Countryman

The Lisbon High School drama department is advising you all rise to see their performance of "Star Witness" Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22.

"The students in Lisbon were ready to do a more intense drama, and this script really delivers," said director Julie Schultz. "For anyone who loves 'Law and Order' and other courtroom procedurals, this script is similar to those shows, but it also has a few different twists."

One of the things that is different is how the show is being staged and performed.

"We're staging this show in the round," Schultz said. "That means we have elements of the show being performed out on the gym floor, as opposed to up on our stage."

That element is challenging to both actors and directors.

"Because the characters are out on the gym floor and embodying their characters at all times, they have to be mindful of what they are doing with their bodies and how they portray their characters and react to the things going on in the courtroom at all times," Schultz said. "It's a fun way to explore character analysis."

"I've definitely learned a lot about the importance of the smaller details in portraying a character I'm playing," said senior Kasey Springsteen. "Being mindful of what I do with my body and how small movements can help add believability to characters is something I've learned. Being performed in the round provides unique challenges and has forced me to learn new things about the stage."

"One of the benefits here at Lisbon, is the flexibility of staging," said Grant Freeman, assistant director. "When we do a show in Mount Vernon, it is pretty much going to happen on the stage. Because of Lisbon's show, it definitely has a good deal of flexibility and opens up to more theatrical thought and expression."

Freeman said the other thing he has liked about working with the Lisbon students is the amount of untapped talent he gets to work with in the Lisbon students.

"It's important as someone who loves the arts to be able to help students in both communities excel," Freeman said.

"Star Witness" is a courtroom drama that focuses on a murder trial of Julie Marshal, and the twists and turns the case makes.

Student Ellie Larson plays the prosecuting attorney.

"This role is something totally different than we've done before," Larson said. "There is a lot of talking, but not as much movement. Learning all of those lines has been a challenge."

Trey Holets plays the defense attorney.

"This is my first year going out for the play on top of the musical," Holets said. "The play definitely pushes our range as actors a little more, though I've found it more laid back and fun to be a part of."

For Holets, being able to create his character has been an exciting portion of the play.

"It's definitely a play unlike anything Lisbon has ever done before," Holets said. "It's a more serious play then we've done in the past, but the outcome is not what it may seem at first glance. There are definitely some twists and surprises in this film."

"Anybody who likes TruTV or Investigation Discovery or other true crime television channels or programming will definitely like this play," Schultz said. "The script keeps the suspense up until the end. The play also gives every student a chance to be featured. Unlike other plays, where there is one or two distinct characters who are the leads, this script gives everyone a chance to have a moment in the spotlight."

Curtains rise on the performances at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 21, and Saturday, April 22. Tickets are $5 and available at the door.

Cast list

Sam Zangrillis Trey Holets

Karen Wood Emily Schultz

Justine Suiter Gina Montgomery

Julie Marshall Kasey Springsteen

Adrienne Bancroft Ellie Larson

Tony Delveccio Jordan Juett

Judge Robin Myerson Silas Young

Lee McGiver Cody Techau

Dr. James Trevor Chris Cannon

Lt. Phillip Dexter Garrett Herring

Diane Holgate Abbie Larson

Melinda Lawson Renae Hasselbusch

Betty Rice Hayley Peters

Jurors - Mackenzie Moreland, Ciera Cooper, Jenna Awbrey, Alyssia Heck, Faith Venenga, Alaina Jacobson, Veronica Russell, Natalie Ott, Grace Clark, Rachel Ross

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