Violet the fifth grader wanted to feel special. She lost a friend in the process.
Amid the world record attempts, strikes of lightning and preteen struggles to fit in, “Miss Electricity,” a 2010 play written by Kathryn Walat intended for young audiences, taught audiences of all ages the importance of friendship Nov. 2-4 in the Gordon Wilson Hall Lab Theatre.
The performance served as part of the WKU Theatre Department’s select children-specific series and was directed by Shepherdsville junior Matthew Kerman in his first experience directing. Though Kerman has acted in other WKU productions and performs with the Happy Gas Improv Troupe, he said directing lends itself to more creative control.
“It’s good giving yourself a wider perspective on the whole product,” Kerman said. “You have a vision for the entire show.”
Kerman said he believes “Miss Electricity” was not only a creative opportunity for him but also for everyone who was able to attend the show. He said the oftentimes comedic nature of theatre provides its audience a chance to step away from its worries and smile.
“I think a lot of times people overlook the arts,” Kerman said. “It’s just good to enjoy that and take that in when possible.”
Hendersonville, Tennessee, junior Jarrett Jarvis performed as the production’s narrator. With frequent fourth wall breaks and consistent commentary that proved both funny and helpful, Jarvis kept the crowd on its toes throughout the 45-minute “Miss Electricity” runtime. Jarvis said he and the show’s cast wanted to make sure each joke might appeal to both children and older viewers.
“Some jokes just always hit well,” Jarvis said. “The goal was always to make whoever was there laugh.”
As the “Miss Electricity” cast began rehearsing around September, Jarvis said everyone involved in the show’s production grew close and made each performance well-worth the month of preparation.
“The whole show would not have been what it was had we not had the cast and crew that we had,” Jarrett said.
Freshman Hope Eason of Paducah performed as the show’s world-record seeking protagonist, Violet. By attempting a new world record found within the book of “Guinness World Records” every day before class, Violet hopes to prove she’s special.
“Miss Electricity” was Eason’s first experience performing in a WKU production. She said she was amazed by how energetic the show’s cast remained throughout rehearsal and each performance.
“We all had so much energy,” Eason said. “The show never died.”
Eason said she was happy to be part of a production that focused on such a sincere topic. She said she relates personally to the show’s view of friendship.
“Real friends like you no matter what,” Eason said. “Anyone should be able to be themselves completely.”
Bloomfield junior Corey Kieslich acted as Freddy, Violet’s quick-witted and goofy “assistant,” in the production. Though Violet loses sight of the importance of her and Freddy’s relationship during a pivotal moment near the show’s end, the two eventually come to recognize a mutual appreciation for each other. Ultimately, Kieslich said the show is about “just passing on the idea that everybody is special” no matter their difficulties or differences.
Though the show is primarily a comedy, Kieslich said it’s also “grounded in some kind of reality,” which he said he believes makes it both relatable and constructive.
“It’s definitely presented in a really fun way for everyone to latch onto,” Kieslich said.
Though part of the department’s children’s series, Kieslich said he believes the show’s message still pertains to people of any background or age. With that he said sometimes looking at an issue through much younger eyes isn’t so bad.
“Not everything has to be so serious,” Kieslich said. “There’s a time and place to just be a kid and have fun.”
Reporter Griffin Fletcher can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected].