Play

Scott County High School senior Brianna Hamilton, middle, gives direction on lights to sophomore Caroline Burton, right, and stage manager Madison Whitenack. Hamilton’s play ‘Presence’ she wrote and is directing will be performed Saturday night at 7 in the SCHS auditorium.

Local theater lovers can see a rare treat Saturday night at 7 with a production that is written and directed by Scott County High School senior Brianna Hamilton.

The play “Presence” is free in the SCHS auditorium, but donations will be accepted for the American Cancer Society.

“I am nervous and excited,” Hamilton said. “Not for the actors because they are doing a wonderful job, but just to make sure the technical part of the play goes right. It is a little anxious.”

Hamilton describes the play, which features a cast of about 25 including lights and sound crew, as a young girl that learns the meaning of love and life from a boy who has had a terrible life. The boy has cancer, and the story was a labor of love for Hamilton.

“I am dedicating this play to my father, Charles K. Hamilton. He died when I was very young of cancer, so the idea of this story came to me and morphed into the play,” she said.

Brianna’s sophomore year featured another student-written production, and that inspired her to start writing her own play. She finished it her junior year, and with the encouragement of friends, presented it to her teacher Julia Marshall to see if it could be performed.

“I was impressed with what she had written. It is nice to give the students some extra experience when we can squeeze it in between the fall play and spring musical,” Marshall said. “I didn’t change much to it from what she gave me. This is great experience for her to see something go from conception to production.”

Hamilton had not written a play before, but is an avid writer of short stories. She is a veteran of performing in many SCHS productions, but seeing how a performance comes together from behind the stage is something altogether different.

“You don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes until you do it from this side,” she said as the cast prepared their dress rehearsal by getting the props staged in just the right spot, costumes correct, and lights and sound tested. “Both writing and directing is hard, but different. I may have an idea for a scene while writing, but as a director you see you can’t put that giant prop on stage. And then as a director you have to work around schedules and snow days.

“I don’t envy Mrs. Marshall when she directs the big productions. She has been a huge help in doing the sound and working to get us the stage and time to practice.”

The play runs about 90 minutes and the staging is in three sections.

Hamilton plans to major in English with an emphasis in creative writing.

She won’t be the only one watching with a keen eye Saturday night. Her mother will be in the audience and cannot wait to see “Presence.”

“I am excited to see it,” Carolyn Hamilton said. “I am happy and excited she loves to write and I am very proud of her.”

Steve McClain can be reached at smcclain@news-graphic.com.

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