“It’s a Wonderful Life” at MTH

Mt. Hebron’s fall play, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” premiered on Nov. 2, and ran on Nov. 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11. Directed by Math teacher Mr. Tom Sankey, “It’s a Wonderful Life” opens on protagonist George Bailey, played by sophomore Nick Brogan, preparing to take his own life on Christmas Eve 1946 in the small town of Bedford Falls, New York.

This act calls on his guardian angel’s intervention; Clarence Odbody, played by sophomore Max Nzone, spends most of the show reminding George of the effects his life has had on others while simultaneously working to become a First Class Angel and obtain his wings. Told in flashbacks between the 1920s and the 1940s, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a heartwarming story full of humor, life lessons and love.

Brogan excelled as the lead, adding charm and humor when needed and drawing on emotional depth to evoke the audience’s empathy at George’s lowest points in his life. Alongside Brogan, senior Krista Schumm was a highlight of the show as Mary Hatch, George Bailey’s wife. Schumm’s performance had undertones of the classic, sweet American girl while maintaining a biting sense of humor and strength that allowed her to remain a separate entity from her counterpart.

In addition, George’s Uncle Billy and Aunt Tilly, played by seniors Nick Jackson, Daniel Niezelski and junior Nina St. Hillaire, respectively, added touches of heartwarming, light humor, which brightened the mood. Seniors Zach Wilhelm and Trevor Conklin shined as the antagonist Henry F. Potter, and it was not difficult for both the characters and the audience to band together against them.

The new seating arrangement from last year’s fall play was implemented again, allowing the audience to sit on the stage. This created an intimate atmosphere; the staging was minimal and the actors were the focus of attention. Lighting and stage crew maintained a discreet presence despite the smaller space, led by seniors Andrew Breazeale and Kyle and Erik Henn, supervised by new technical director, English and Theatre Arts teacher Mr. Steven Barker.

At the end of closing night, Mr. Barker entered the stage to announce the new inductees of a Mt. Hebron chapter of the International Thespian Society, inviting approximately 20 students on stage to be congratulated for this achievement. A prestigious society, it was created in 1929 as a network for high school and middle school theatre students to communicate and work towards their motto: “Act well your part; there all the honor lies.”

Not only were students inducted, but Mr. Sankey was also made an honorary member for his decades of work in the Mt. Hebron Theatre Department.

As always, the hard work of costume director Ms. Barbara Bogart, technical director Mr. Barker and director Mr. Sankey not only allowed for the fall play to be possible, but it also prompted the Mt. Hebron chapter on the International Thespian Society to flourish.

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