Each year, the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop generates thespian magic by drawing area residents into the theatrical fold to create a unique performance for the community. Part of the enchantment includes taking folks with little or no acting experience and transforming them into accomplished stage performers.
This year, the cast of “Cahoots” has four actors with varying amounts of stage experience who are appearing with the Drama Workshop for the first time.
Lisa Burns is playing the part of Jan, a struggling actress. Burns currently lives in Marlinton and teaches seventh grade English Language Arts at Marlinton Middle School. She is a 2005 graduate of Pocahontas County High School and a 2011 graduate of West Virginia University, where she received her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.
When asked what first got her interested in performing, Burns said, “When Margaret (Baker, the Drama Workshop director) asked me if I would be willing to act in the play I was a little skeptical but decided I would go for it, it might be fun. Then, I read the script and literally laughed out loud! At that point, I was absolutely sold.”
The role of Lois, a disgruntled fiction editor, is being portrayed by Diana Clarke. Clarke is a native of Massachusetts, where she previously was involved with community theater – coming to Pocahontas County by way of New York City. She is an AmeriCorps volunteer at High Rocks, and can be found writing or roller skating in her spare time. Clark jokes that she’s “not yet coordinated enough to do both at once.”
Dan Schultz grew up in suburban Maryland and moved to Pocahontas County in 2012. His voice can be heard on Allegheny Mountain Radio with the Traveling 219 project. Schultz is cast as Grant, a uniformed officer who has a devious side.
“I’ve never been in a play before, so when Margaret asked, I thought it might be fun to give it a try,” Schultz said. “It’s fun to play a character who is so different from me. Grant is an irreverent jerk who tries to exploit the other characters, so I’ve found it really amusing to try to embody that role onstage.”
Rounding out the list of newcomers is Andrew Lacasse.
“I have lived in Pocahontas County since I was two years old,” Lacasse recalled. “Ms. Baker taught drama classes at the Green Bank Elementary School where I was first introduced to her. When I was in middle school I played a role in “Night of the Pterodactyl” which was my first involvement in community theatre.”
Lacasse talked about his role in “Cahoots.”
“The character I play, Ken, is an overworked husband who, on the surface, appears calm and collected, but doesn’t react well under pressure,” Lacasse said.
These fledgling stars can be seen in action when The Pocahontas County Drama Workshop presents “Cahoots,” a comedy of crime, conspiracy and cover-up, on Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 and are available at the door.
The Drama Workshop is supported by Pocahontas County Dramas Fairs and Festivals, Parks and Recreation and Board of Education.
(Parents should be aware that the play contains adult themes that may not be suitable for young children.)