As opening night approaches, the teens in the Aiken Community Theater Youth Wing production of M*A*S*H offered a behind-the-tents look at the wartime comedy.
The play by Tim Kelly about American surgeons and nurses in the Korean War was adapted from the book by Richard Hooker, but the story is well-known from the long-running TV show and the 1970 movie.
Nolan Lacy, 17, a South Aiken High School junior, will be playing Capt. Augustus Bedford Forrest, or "Duke," one of the lead roles.
"He's the jokester; he organizes a lot of things," he said. "He's fun to play."
He's been in five or six productions, and the hardest part, he said, is remembering cues.
Lizzie Mahoney, a 17-year-old junior from Aiken High School, has been acting since she was 5 years old, and will be tackling the role of Lt. Janice Fury, a nurse.
"I've been raised in that environment my entire life," she said.
During the day, she trades in her fatigues for other artistic ventures and as features editor of her school newspaper.
She is involved in two or three productions a year, including a recent lead role in Alice in Wonderland.
She enjoys the camaraderie among the actors.
"The girls' dressing room is just wild," she said.
Lizzie said she is similar to her character, but David Hallman, who plays Lt. Col. Henry Blake, does a lot of yelling to stay in character.
"He's a little angrier than I am," the 17-year-old Aiken High School senior said.
The most difficult part of this role is remembering the lines.
"Almost everything he says is a monologue," David said.
It's a new experience for the production director, Bob Franklin. This is his first production with the Youth Wing, though he's no stranger to the stage, high schoolers or directing.
The retiree, who recently donned a longer white beard for Dear Santa , once taught high school.
"I'm looking forward to seeing young people playing very different adult roles, and be able to react to what happens on stage," he said.
Mr. Franklin moved to Aiken because of the strong community theater, and he believes time on stage can build confidence for teens.
Lizzie said she'll use her public speaking skills she has learned in the future, though she is not considering it as a career.
"It's something I'll probably always be involved in," she said.
Reach Sarah Day Owen at (706) 823-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: M*A*S*H, presented by the Aiken Community Theater Youth Wing
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, and 8 p.m. March 6-8
WHERE: Aiken Community Playhouse, 126 Newberry St., Aiken
COST: $12 student tickets
LEARN MORE: (803) 648-1438