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COLUMBIA CITY â âItâs personal.â That is the recurring thought between numerous cast members of Columbia City High Schoolâs fall production of âOnce Upon a Town.â
The playâs plot centers around a small town initiative to feed, encourage and applaud World War II soldiers passing through North Platte, Neb.
Based on a true story, the performance weaves factual war time events with fictional character encounters. To further drive home the struggles and trials of a war-torn country, the 1940s era shifts slightly out of view to make room for a modern day family, separated by the war in Afghanistan.
âThis show is a love story between a country and its soldiers,â said Director Shane Barkley.
Performance dates are Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11, which happens to fall on Veterans Day. With that in mind, the cast and directors will hold a reception after Sundayâs matinee for veterans, service men and women as well as their families. The reception is free and open to members of the military who hold a Saturday or Sunday ticket.
Kirstie Crisp is a CCHS senior and has appeared in five other shows during her high school career. But she said this show is different.
âItâs so personal. My character, Dorothy Loncar, is a lot like me. It makes me think about how I would feel if the boy I loved was overseas. I wouldnât know what was going on with him or if he was okay. I canât imagine.â
Crisp said, âI am excited that we get to do a show that our directors wrote. Plus, itâs my senior year which makes it all the more special.â
Kyle Weigold, senior, plays Raymond Pyle, a young World War II soldier stationed in France. This is Weigoldâs first show at CCHS. This fall,Weigold split his time between the stage and the football field where he was one of CCHSâs defensive lineman.
âSince it is my senior year, I wanted no regrets,â said Weigold. âI wanted to try something new. Iâve been told that I am a character, so I thought Iâd give it a shot. I didnât really think I would make it, but I did and its been a lot of fun.â
Weigoldâs and Crispâs characters meet in North Platte and soon are separated by the war. A long distance relationship forms that results in a touching homecoming.
With the war in Afghanistan portrayed throughout the play, audience members will get another look at warsâ effect on families.
âOur generation has been desensitized to violence and war, but this show, I believe, will put a more human touch to what some might think is just a war that happened a long time ago,â Weigold said.
âI hope that weâve told the story in such a way that people will leave having their feelings stirred,âsaid Crisp. âI hope some have shed some tears because it was that moving.â
âOnce Upon a Townâ show times are Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door, from cast members, by calling 633-1102 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.