Hamilton Southeastern High School theater teacher Ethan Mathias is conducting a unique experiment.
Mathias is directing his students in a play he wrote, “Provenance.” The performances are set at 7 p.m. April 28 to 30 in the school’s Little Theatre.
The play was performed in Actors Theatre of Indiana’s LAB series in September 2021.
“The actors I had the fortune of working with in September were amazing, not only as performers but as collaborators in helping me better understand and uncover the characters I had created,” Mathias said. “I’ve made some changes since then to help clarify and streamline the story. In my adaptation of the script for HSE, I developed an ensemble that helped fill out the world of the play.”
Sophomore Lauren Nolan plays Allison Aldridge, a history professor brought in by the Heartland Museum employees to give insight on the life of her late grandfather, philanthropist Stephen Aldridge, a legend in the fictional Indiana town of Bayleigh.
“Allison is my favorite character I have ever played, largely due to how much I relate to her on a personal level,” Nolan said. “I also enjoy exploring her relationships with the other characters in the show, particularly her mentor, Kenny, and newfound friends at the museum, Natalie and Warren”
Nolan said Mathias reminds him that he does not know everything about the characters he creates.
“I feel very privileged to be helping develop who Allison is and why she does what she does,” Nolan said. “Having the playwright around to answer questions or show us deleted scenes is a definite perk. Part of the challenge with portraying Allison is accessing such a wide emotional range. We see her trying to cope with grief, from losing a loved one and anger after uncovering a shocking truth from the past, all while striving to form meaningful human connections despite the adversity she faces.”
The cast has seven actors and a small ensemble.
“It’s been wonderful to see the students immerse themselves in their roles, and I can’t wait for audiences to see them tell this story,” Mathias said. “Every rehearsal brings to light new elements of the characters, and it’s great to hear their thoughts and interpretations. Because the play is more advanced in both its content and themes, it’s been great to see them take on the material with great professionalism and maturity.”
For tickets, visit HSEDrama.org.