SHS theatre to present “At the Bottom of Lake Missoula”

SHS junior Samantha Turner in rehearsal for "At the Bottom of Lake Missoula," the SHS fall production. After its SHS run, the play will be performed in competition. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

Soon, 33 Starkville High School students will come together to bring a piece of art to life.

The SHS Thespian Troupe 1180 will perform Ed Monk’s “At the Bottom of Lake Missoula” on Nov 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 2:30 p.m. The play tells the story of Pam Roebucker, who loses her entire family to a tornado while she is away at college. The play follows her journey of coming to terms with her loss.

“Her family unfortunately passes away in a tornado after she leaves, and the play is kind of about her dealing with the grief of losing her family and not being there with them,” said SHS junior Samantha Turner, who plays Pam.
Turner said it was her first lead role with the SHS theatre.

“I really love the people,” Turner said. “Some of my best friends are a part of this. It’s fun to be able to create something with the people that you love and be proud of it and be able to show it in front of an audience.”
After the performances, the theatre troupe will perform the play in competition. SHS theatre teacher Trisha Pate said the troupe had been successful in past theatre competitions.

“What this is our completion show,” Pate said. “We perform this in competitions and we travel with this show, so everything has to be portable and easily set up and taken down. What we’re doing is basically showing the parents and the community what we’re travelling with, then we have intermission. After intermission, we have a showcase, where all the kids are going to perform their individual performances such as their solo musicals, monologues and some duets.”

The competition will take place at Mississippi State University in early December, and the next round will be held on the Mississippi University for Women campus in Columbus. If successful there, the play could continue on to the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Mobile, Alabama in March 2018. The play will also be performed at Tupelo High School.

SHS senior Noah Knox, who plays Pam’s father explained the rules of the competition.

“A bunch of high schools in the north Mississippi area bring shows that are 45 minutes long,” Knox said. “That means you have to set up your entire show, perform your show and take down your entire show in under 45 minutes to qualify. Also, your set has to fit in a ten-by-ten box, which kind of makes it where schools that have bigger theatre budgets can’t really build these huge, elaborate sets.”

Freshman William Norris, who is playing a Catholic Priest said “At the Bottom of Lake Missoula” was his first SHS production.

“I like how supportive the community is,” Norris said. “You get to be something you’re not for a day. You get to be more than just you.”

Admission to the performance is $7.