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Interwoven plots in junior high play



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From left, Will Mengyan, playing Nate, and Emma Lohmeier, as Polly, rehearse for their upcoming play, “Archie and the Wallflower.” (click for larger version)
December 05, 2012 - Chaos is taking over The New Leaf Greenhouse in Clarkston Junior High School's upcoming performance of "Archie and the Wallflower."

"The play itself is interesting," said Mitchell Thompson. "It is a fun play. There are a lot of things going on. People should come and see it. It's fun performing. It would be fun for an audience member."

The plot centers around three characters working at the greenhouse and the troubles they are having within one day.

One of the characters is Polly Waters, played by Emma Lohmeier, who is extremely shy and can't talk to anyone.

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"She is a wallflower," she explained. "So she talks to plants."

The plant, Archie, comes to life through a concoction created by a scientist, Nate, played by Will Mengyan. Polly talks to him to get through her problems.

One of her problems is she likes Nate but is unable to talk to him because of her shyness.

"She is in love with him because he is an outsider like her," Lohmeier said, adding Polly wants to talk to people but she gets stuck.

Another character adding to the chaos is Ivy Vine, played by Anna Dawson. Ivy likes Pete Moss. But he doesn't seem to notice her or even know she exists.

Ivy is bound and determined to change it.

"She orders a love potion and she makes it," said Dawson. "It ends up screwing up everything because Nate falls in love with Ivy, Pete falls in love with Polly and Mrs. Stickleback falls in love with Filmore Potts. It is all messed up. Ivy has to find a way to undo it."

"The love potion mixes things up like Midsummer's Night Dream," Lohmeier added.

While Mrs. Stickleback is falling in love with him, Mr. Potts has other issues he needs to deal with at the moment.

As the owner of the New Leaf Greenhouse, he has to find a way to keep the bank from foreclosing on his busines.

Thompson, playing Mr. Potts, described him as a father figure for his employees.

"He is just trying to have everything go as it should," he explained. "He is very optimistic. He wants to save his business. He is losing everything. He does not know what to do."

Mark Magni, Theatre Arts teacher, recommends the play for anyone 6-years-old and older.

"My 6-year-old would enjoy it and is ready for it," he said.

He added the play has historical points as well as references to science, math and English classes current students are taking or parents have already taken.

"There are a lot of references the kids will get and some kids and adults will remember," Magni said. "It is a very appropriate play to do in a school setting because that is where our brain is at and the things we learn and how it can relate together."

"It's for everybody," said Lohmeier. "For the little kids because it's funny. For adults, they have jokes for them, too. Nate shares actual facts. For gardners, they will laugh because of the plant humor. We laugh along with the lines so students our age will love it."

Dawson explained the audience, especially kids, will learn lessons from each of the characters and predictaments they find themselves in.

"As things unfold I think Ivy learns a lesson," Thompson added. "You have to consider what the effect will be on other people and understand you aren't the only one in the world."

Magni added the cast is also great and giving the characters their own personal touches.

"We have a lot of good kids on stage," he smiled. "They have a lot of great personalities and a lot of dynamics."

To find out what happens to the employees of the New Leaf Greenhouse, watch one or both of the performances set for next week.

Performances are Dec. 14 and 15 at Clarkston Junior High School Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m. General admission at the door. The price is $5 for students and seniors and $7 for adults. "Archie and the Wallflower" is written by Kevin Stone.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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