By Lorrie Ham
The Mound Westonka High School Theatre Department is proud to present “The Diviners” by Jim Leonard Jr. March 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and March 12 at 2 p.m. Religion, friendship and tragedy all play a part in this production.
The story is set in the early days of the depression in a small southern Indiana town named Zion, the home of Buddy Layman, a mentally-challenged boy whose sweet nature touches most people he meets. One day, a stranger named C.C. Showers passes through Zion looking for work and food. Showers takes an immediate liking to Layman, and vice versa. Showers is able to relate to Layman in ways that most people cannot. The two become close friends, and Showers soon takes on the role of Layman’s mentor and teacher. Jennie Mae Layman is attracted to Showers, but Jennie Mae isn’t the only single girl in the area who considers Showers a catch of a man.
The town’s dry goods owner has her mind set on bringing old-fashioned revival to the community. The local diner owner would love to see the church rebuilt – anticipating all the Sunday customers it would bring to her establishment. Showers’ relationship with the people of the town changes drastically when they learn that he is a former preacher who has given up preaching. That knowledge changes everything and leads to a horrible tragedy.
Assistant director Meagan Lenz said, “This is such a meaningful and challenging piece, and I am already extremely proud of the dedication that the students have shown, despite the fact that we haven’t even reached performances yet!”
Cast members include eighth-grader Josh Nkhata as Clint Allen, eighth-grader John Wombacher as Buddy Layman, senior Charley Hagen as C.C. Showers, sophomore Joey Colianni Jr. as Ferris Layman, junior Piper Bruce as Jennie Mae Layman, junior Cameron Fields as Basil Bennett, sophomore Sarah Brammer as Luella Bennett, senior Tori McCann as Goldie Short, sophomore Emma Jordahl as Norma Henshaw, sophomore Tia Meyer as Darlene Henshaw, sophomore Nick Drilling as Melvin Wilder, freshman Elmo Fernandez-Armstrong as Dewey Maples, senior Megan Martin as Lucille Fairbanks and freshman Destiny Utecht as Beatrice Jones.
“The three seniors in this year’s cast are such great representatives of students who have been involved in so many different aspects of theatre productions over the past few years,” said Lenz. “Their dedication, energy and enthusiasm in the program will certainly be missed.”
“The Diviners” is directed by Steven Meerdink with Lenz as assistant director and Jamie Harms as costumer.
The cast will be dedicating this year’s show to the memory of Westonka School Board Vice Chair Ann Bremer. “[Bremer] was an incredible supporter of all arts programs at the high school, especially the performing arts – never missing a single show or performance,” said Lenz. “She will be deeply missed.”
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and will be available through the MWHS Athletics & Activities FeePay site starting Wednesday, March 1.