South Charlotte

Ardrey Kell students set to perform original play

A Yeti, Jonathan Traverso, poses on the front lawn of Ardrey Kell High School. The large creature plays an important part in the theater department’s latest play, “Yet He’s Unprepared.”
A Yeti, Jonathan Traverso, poses on the front lawn of Ardrey Kell High School. The large creature plays an important part in the theater department’s latest play, “Yet He’s Unprepared.” COURTESY OF KATELYN SPICER

A Yeti spotted in Ballantyne? Don’t be surprised. Nothing is impossible on the Ardrey Kell High School stage.

Oct. 14, 15 and 17, Ardrey Kell theatre students will present “Yet He’s Unprepared” an original play written by theater teachers Terry Gabbard and Brian Seagroves.

Gabbard, in his third year at the school, is a seasoned drama teacher with 13 years experience and a published play to his credit.

“Our Place,” his original one-act play, won several awards from the 2014 North Carolina Theatre Conference state and regional competitions and won “Best New Play” at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., last spring. The play was published last summer.

Seagroves, in his second year at the school, comes from a professional acting background having tackled Shakespeare at the Royal Court Theatre in London, England, and many other plays on many other stages before moving to the south Charlotte classroom to help the next generation hone their acting skills.

The two teachers pooled their talents over the summer to write the script for the school’s newest production.

Gabbard said “Yet He’s Unprepared” is a lively farce about a TV producer who is about to get married while preparing to shoot the second season of a “Chasing Bigfoot” documentary.

As the title suggests, the producer is totally unprepared for the wedding. And when the Yeti unexpectedly arrives, all bets are off and chaos reigns.

The cast is composed of 22 students in grades nine-12. In addition to the privilege of performing a play written by their teachers, one of their performances will be judged by representatives of the International Thespian Society, the Educational Theatre Association’s student honorary organization.

Only 40 high school productions nationwide will be adjudicated by the society this year, and only 10 will be invited to perform on the main stage of the International Thespian Festival, in Nebraska next June.

Ardrey Kell drama students made local theatrical news last spring when their production of “42nd Street” won five Blumey Awards.

Gabbard says the kids are excited about this newest challenge.

“Being adjudicated and in consideration to perform at the festival next summer is a next step for our program,” Gabbard said.

“It’s an exciting possibility and opportunity. We just want to build on the success that our theater program experienced last year.”

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.

Want to go?

“Yet He’s Unprepared” will run Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, Oct. 14, 15 and 17, 6 p.m., at Ardrey Kell High School, 10220 Ardrey Kell Road, Charlotte, 28277. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for CMS students with ID.

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