The Yosemite High School Theater Arts Department will present "Makin' It," a play that examines high school life, at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at the Yosemite High School Theatre. The play follows young people through the halls of their high school, trying to make their way through that rite of passage known as adolescence, including the conflicts, pranks, challenges, laughs and romance they encounter.
Through all of the familiar stereotypes -- cheerleaders, nerds, teachers, jocks, popular kids and parents -- the play shows that everyone struggles to find happiness and a place to fit in during high school.
The story features two lead characters -- Brooke, played by sophomore Sophia O'Meara, a young woman trying to re-make herself to move up the high school social ladder to join the popular crowd -- and Scott, played by junior Ben Hartesveldt, a young artist trying to find that special girl and break away from his family's expectations.
As Brooke and Scott weave through the drama that is high school, they learn to trust their own instincts and see beyond the masks that some students attempt to hide behind.
In addition to O'Meara and Hartesveldt, the play features 27 additional actors, one of the largest casts ever to participate in a play at the school.
Other featured performers include junior Mark Friesen, seniors Becca Williams and Christian Cambrelen and sophomores Olivia Pearce, Kimiko Smith and Emma Reda.
"The play has some comedy, some drama and even a little cheesy romance -- something for everyone," said O'Meara. "My character, Brooke, really wants to fit in with everyone, but once she becomes on of the 'in-crowd,' she finds it's not as grand as she thought it would be. The audience will relate to all the characters in the play and most people will connect with at least one character."
Hartesveldt said his character is an average student who doesn't seek out the 'in-crowd,' choosing instead to stand up for what he believes in.
"It's exciting and a little scary to put on the play," Hartesveldt said. "There are a lot of people who have to work together to make it all come together."
The play was written in the mid-80s by Cynthia Mercati and has been a popular play for high school drama departments for many years.
Yosemite High Theatre arts teacher Lars Thorson directs the play. He has directed more than 50 plays in his 11 years at the school.
"We did this amazingly popular play seven years ago," Thorson said. "A lot of students will give some pretty emotional performances in this play in what is a realistic portrayal of high school and all the ups and downs of being an adolescent."
Tickets for "Makin' It" are $5 for adults and students. Reservations: (559) 683-4667, ext. 256.
Later this spring the YHS theatre arts department will present a stage version of the young adult novel, "The Giver." This will be a senior project play directed by Emma Madsen. Performance dates are March 14-16.
On April 18-20, the department will present the popular 1970s musical "Godspell."