FULTON — For the first time in eight years, students are taking the Caston stage for a high school play.
Caston High School students will perform “Alice in Wonderland” today and May 2 in an effort to bring back the school’s annual stage productions. About two dozen students, including four foreign exchange students, are donning trippy costumes for a fanciful leap into Wonderland based on the children’s book by Lewis Carroll.
The high school play “used to be a big deal,” recalled Shelly Sarver, the Caston kindergarten teacher who’s tasked with directing the play. “Everybody wanted to be in it.”
A 1989 Caston graduate, Sarver has taught at Caston School Corp. for the last seven years. The high school hadn’t put on a theatrical production in that time, she said. As far as Principal Adam Strasser can determine, the last play took place eight years ago.
“We’ve had kids that have wanted to do it,” he explained, but “we just haven’t had staff to lead it.”
Students tried to relaunch the school play two years ago without success. Some in today’s production recall trying to drum up support, only to have few students show up for auditions.
“I tried to get my dad to direct, ... but we just didn’t have the people,” Anna Brown said.
Brown and other students didn’t give up, though. Early this year, they began meeting independently with a few school staffers sitting in, just until they could find a teacher to act as adviser for the unofficial drama club.
That’s where Sarver came in. Mother to Addison Sarver, a high-school sophomore who’s also in the play, Sarver had no acting or directing experience herself but had helped behind the scenes in a variety of productions Addison had participated in. She volunteered to direct a play if students showed up to auditions.