COLUMBIA CITY — “It’s personal.” That is the recurring thought between numerous cast members of Columbia City High School’s fall production of “Once Upon a Town.”
The play’s 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.
“This show is a love story between a country and its soldiers,” 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 Sunday’s 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.
“It’s 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 wouldn’t know what was going on with him or if he was okay. I can’t imagine.”
Crisp said, “I am excited that we get to do a show that our directors wrote. Plus, it’s my senior year which makes it all the more special.”
Kyle Weigold, senior, plays Raymond Pyle, a young World War II soldier stationed in France. This is Weigold’s first show at CCHS. This fall,Weigold split his time between the stage and the football field where he was one of CCHS’s defensive lineman.
“Since it is my senior year, I wanted no regrets,“ said Weigold. “I wanted to try something new. I’ve been told that I am a character, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I didn’t really think I would make it, but I did and its been a lot of fun.”
Weigold’s and Crisp’s 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 wars’ effect on families.
“Our 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,” Weigold said.
“I hope that we’ve told the story in such a way that people will leave having their feelings stirred,”said Crisp. “I hope some have shed some tears because it was that moving.”
“Once Upon a Town” 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 .