‘Don’t Drink the Water’ at Greenwood High School

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 171 views 

Woody Allen will make a stop early next month in Greenwood – not THE Woody Allen, but rather a play written by the acclaimed director.

The play "Don't Drink the Water" will be performed at 6:30 p.m. on both May 2 and May 3 by members of the Greenwood High School drama department.

According to senior Austin Keith, the play is sort of quirky and full of dry humor.

"The play is basically about an American family that's visiting (an unnamed) communist-run European country and they take pictures of things they're not supposed to and the communist police begin to chase them and they take refuge inside the United States embassy over there," said Keith, who plays Axel Magee, the incompetent son of the ambassador who is left in charge in the absence of the U.S. envoy.

Once inside the embassy, he said the play's plot turns to the family trying to live within the embassy, all while attempting to escape. For students who may not be familiar with the work of Allen, it has been a chance to be exposed to one of America's storied directors.

Keith said one of the reasons he liked the play and the public would like the play is because of Allen's humor and the family-friendly storyline.

"I think it's really funny. There's a lot of dry humor in it and I like it," he said. "I like it a lot and it's not like too inappropriate or anything like that. It's good for like families to come and see it and it's still funny for all of them."

The play is one of two performances put on by the drama department each year, according to senior Kendra Tracy, who plays Susan Hollander, the adult child of the trapped family. She said for students participating in the drama department, each performance was an opportunity to experience life in someone else's shoes.

"I've always enjoyed becoming a new character every show, you know, just getting into it fully. And you always get to experience all kinds of personalities, all different traits," she said.

For students who are active in the drama department, the months of hard work and dedication do not only pay off with a standing ovation following a performance. Tracy said there are other opportunities to be gained through participation in the drama department.

"If you go into theatre (in college), you can always go in and audition with different pieces and through clubs like this and through classes like forensics and drama (and) you can get scholarship opportunities."

One Greenwood student has done just that.

Senior Katherine Holmes, who plays a "high strung" chef in "Don't Drink the Water," has been awarded a theatre scholarship to study at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville.

She said originally enrolled in drama to obtain a fine arts credit during her sophomore year in high school, but then found theatre to be a calling.

"I really loved it and I really loved theatre and doing monologues and duets, so my junior year, I did drama and forensics (competitive acting)," Holmes said.

All of the hard work has culminated in a theatre scholarship that amounts to more than $25,000, which Holmes hopes leads to a career in the theatre.

Greenwood drama teacher Tim Peerbolte said seeing students grow through performing and having both educational and professional opportunities was part of why the program was so important to support. He said having such talented students made his job even more rewarding.

"When you have a talented cast, it makes the director's job so much easier," Peerbolte said.

Peerbolte invited the community to the production at the Greenwood High School Performing Arts Center, but cautioned that seating would be limited in the auditorium. The reason is because 75 seats will be included on the stage with the performers. But he said theatregoers shouldn't worry about any possible inclusion in the play.

"Don't worry. We are not going to pull audience members on stage or anything like that. It's not that kind of show," Peerbolte said. "You just get a different perspective of the show when are only a few feet away from the actors. It makes it feel more real when it is right in front of you."

Tickets for the May 2 and May 3 performances may be purchased at the door or can be reserved by calling (479) 996-2684. Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students.