New Palestine students take on Vonnegut comedy

NEW PALESTINE — It’s a theatrical challenge like no other, the director and cast members from New Palestine High School’s performing arts group said.

They’re in the process of polishing up their act for their spring play, Indiana native Kurt Vonnegut’s “Who Am I This Time?”

Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., with a matinee set for Sunday at 2 p.m.

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English teacher Caroline Clayton is directing the small cast of nine. She and the cast picked the comedy about love to perform for a variety of reasons.

First, it will likely be new to audiences, as New Palestine’s production of the show is only the third showing of it in Central Indiana, Clayton said.

“Plus, this is Kurt Vonnegut, so it is not smug or smarty pants; it’s gentle, sweet and kind,” she said.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre presented the show in 2014. Clayton took many of the current cast members to see it. It was after the performance Clayton and the high school actors knew it was a show they wanted to take on.

The show presents three love stories that are intertwined, she added.

“It’s young love. We’ve been married 20 years love and then that sort of mean, jealous, possessive end of love.”

The cast members are enthralled with the challenge of presenting what they called the transformative powers of love.

“I really love Kurt Vonnegut, so I was really, really interested in doing this,” senior Caitlin Flowers said.

Senior Austin Roberts has been cast into the main male role of Tom Newton. He also narrates the story.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Roberts said. “I get to talk a lot. … I never leave the stage.”

Cast-member Danny Alyea, senior, gets to play a goofy shopkeeper in act I, but in act II, he is a playwright who leaves his wife to marry a crazy movie starlet.

“It goes bad,” Alyea said with a laugh.

Molly Scauffer plays the female lead and said this particular performance is one of her favorites compared to the seven different productions she’s taken part in.

“I’m in love with this play and my character,” Scauffer said.

She’s also enjoyed getting to know some new students and bond as a cast.

Senior Marissa Miller, a veteran school performer, plays Scauffer’s character at an older time in the character’s life.

The students have been working on the play almost nonstop since auditions were conducted in January.

In addition to the cast, there are four high school members playing in the band. That includes senior Sydney Armstrong, who is the band leader.

“She’s a great musician, and she gets to play and sing the theme song throughout the entire play,” Clayton said.

Clayton and the cast hope others will see the play for what it is: a study in love.

If you go

New Palestine High School students present:

Kurt Vonnegut’s “Who am I This Time?”

Performances are at New Palestine High School:

7 p.m. Friday, April 17

7 p.m. Saturday, April 18

2 p.m. Sunday, April 19

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or