‘Honeymoon at Graveside Manor’ premieres Friday at Hayden High School | SteamboatToday.com

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‘Honeymoon at Graveside Manor’ premieres Friday at Hayden High School

Dylan Reedy

Dylan Reedy, who plays the part of Durward, shares a scene with Faith Allen, who plays Judy, during a rehearsal for Hayden High School's production of "Honeymoon at Graveside Manor." Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a matinee at 1 p.m. Saturday.
John F. Russell

— It's not easy to move to a new school for your junior year of high school, like Faith Allen had to do this fall.

She moved from South Dakota and stepped into the halls of Hayden High School without knowing a single person and without — to her dismay — a choir program through which she could express her artistic side.

So she joined the drama club, where instead of singing her heart out, she acted it out alongside 10 of her newfound friends.

"It changed pretty quickly," Allen said Wednesday about getting accustomed to her new school.

"Everyone was really nice. I made friends … best friends forever," she said while slapping cast mate Dylan Reedy's hand.

Allen plays the part of Judy in "Honeymoon at Graveside Manor," a farcical mystery-comedy play that premieres Friday after almost two months of rehearsals.

The two-act play will show at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a matinee at 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 to $10 on a sliding scale.

Hayden High School English teacher Sonia Salberg, or "Sal" to her students, directed the play, which she chose to fit the wild and comedic personalities of the young cast.

"They're natural comedians," she said of the group. "They keeping adding new things and creating a lot. … They're running with it and doing really well."

The play is set at a creepy old house where, on a Halloween night in the 1950s, a motley collection of characters meets by chance.

"When people don't wanna go nowhere, this is the nowhere they're talking about," quipped Ashley Otto at rehearsal Wednesday, playing the part of the sassy housekeeper Sophie.

The characters include a group of high schoolers working on a prank, a couple on their honeymoon and a writer and editor doing research for a book. Add a moss-covered monster, ghosts and a mental institution escapee with multiple personalities, and you have the perfect creative outlet for outgoing teenagers. Most of them enjoy the slamming doors, near-misses and slapstick physical comedy so much they can't help but crack one another up even when they're waiting backstage.

Neylan Wheat, a sophomore at Hayden High School, is participating in her first play after she watched from the light booth last year and saw how much fun the actors were having.

She said the experience turned out to be even more rewarding and enlightening than she thought, fed by the off-stage laughs and improvisational nature of the show.

"If you screw up on stage, you can laugh it off if your friends are there with you," Wheat said. "It can help you get though life that way."

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com