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Parents' and kids' clashes make good comedy

PARENTS: Clinton Central students perform one of the vignettes from “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” a comedy to be presented Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. The parents are spinning their annual Christmas letter while their children translate.

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

A troupe of eighth-graders through seniors will take the stage Friday and Saturday to present “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” a play composed of a collection of comedic vignettes presenting the many funny, and sometimes frustrating, exchanges between parents and their kids. 

“I like it a lot,” said Central senior Katie Faulkner. “It’s a bunch of families and they relatable struggles they face.” Throughout the different scenes, Faulkner pays this mom or that that one.

Faulkner’s stage career includes 10 performances with the Clinton County Youth Theatre. She’s been Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” and directed “The Little Prince,” she said. Soon to graduate, she hopes to be involved in theater while she’s majoring in music at Purdue University - Fort Wayne.

While the play could be performed with only four actors, the Clinton Central cast includes 12 students and a stage and tech crew of seven. Senior Mariah Eaton is the student director for the play, and senior David Hutchison is the stage manager.

“They’re doing a wonderful job,” said Director Melody Pike, who teaches 11th and 12th grade English. Pike took on the production with the help of teachers Andrew Samson and Annette Michael.

Pike said she saw the play performed in Kokomo and thought it would be a great production for a community audience.

Eaton, who said Tim Burton is her favorite film director, said she was enjoying directing the play but found it to be a lot more work than she expected. “I’m really happy with the opportunity. But I’ve seen student directors in the past and they’ve seemed to watch and give direction occasionally,” she said. 

“I wanted to dive right into it and experience what it really is to be a director,” she said. “I’ve led two rehearsals and made the decisions regarding two scenes,” she said.

Her dramatic career includes acting in seven shows; Hutchinson said he has about 20 on his stage resume.

“My favorite role was Seymour Krelborn in ‘Little Shop of Horrors,” he said, which was Central’s 2017 spring musical. “I like anything that piques my interest.”

Hutchison said stage managing involved deciding “where everything goes” while the director decides “how it looks.”

“I also tell everyone when to be quiet,” he said.

“We have a really, really good cast,” said Pike. “I’m proud and happy with the hard work they’ve put in. I hope they enjoy it as much as I do.

“It’s a small school, so these kids see each other in their classes, in sports and extra curricular activities. You can definitely see that on stage. They feel very comfortable with each other.”

The play will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. The show will be performed in the high school’s multi-purpose room, so people should park on the north side of the high school.