KHS Staging Dearly Departed

KHS Roo Players rehearse play
By: Todd Martin
There’s gossip, infidelity, hypocrisy and even death, and it’s all a hoot of good-ole Southern fun.
Killeen High School’s Roo Players are staging the comedy, “Dearly Departed,” with showings at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the school auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.
The family patriarch dies choking on his breakfast to start the story. From that point, the cast of characters display their supposed grief as they travel and attend the funeral, revealing as they go a tangled web of deceit and dysfunction.
“It’s a big, dysfunctional family,” said Christian Beeler, a KHS senior who plays the role of Junior. “They all come to the funeral and they all have their own struggles. I’m the bad one in the family.”
Beeler’s character, it turns out, spends much of the family fortune and is unfaithful to his wife, the highly dramatic Suzanne, played by KHS junior Paris France, who gets to make the most of her pain through tearful sobs.
“It is fun to embody such crazy characters,” France said. “They are very dysfunctional. My husband cheated on me and we’re going through problems. Her character is passionate and outgoing.”
“I like to be the one that gets picked on,” said Beeler. “We also get to have a country accent and a fight scene.”
Students started initial readings the first week of the school year and have worked to get the timing right of the arguments and the physical humor, which audiences will likely enjoy. “I like the fight scene,” Beeler said. “We practiced and practiced to get it down.”
Theater directors Jeremy Falch and Lisa Hart praised the students for their long, diligent work on the comedy.
Killeen High senior Dyamond Harrell plays both Vada, an older woman who complains over caring for her aging husband and Juanita, a former “queen of the fair” now grown and quick to instigate drama among the highly charged community.
“It’s a funny, interesting plot,” Harrell said. “The humor is surprising. It’s about a Southern, religious family, but there are a lot of sly comments. They preach a lot, but don’t do what they say. That’s the overall joke of the play.”
In all honesty, the high school senior said, the dysfunctional family members are not unlike stereotypical teenagers. “It’s not that big a difference,” she said. “They are like older high school students.”