Get ready for some war-time hijinks at Chillicothe High School, because M*A*S*H is their newest success. Based on the book by Richard Hooker, which was in turn adapted into a successful Robert Altman film and and even more successful television show, M*A*S*H tells the story of the officers, nurses, and doctors from a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and their various madcap misadventures as they try to navigate the horrors of war while keeping a smile on their faces.
Eight time director Geoffrey T. Smith chose the play based on his own fond memories of the television show and having performed in the show when he was in high school.
“I actually was in this very play when I was a senior,” says Smith, “I played General Hammond.” Smith goes on to say that his decision to do the play this year sprung from his growing group of talented actors.
“We have grown so much over the last few years and because so many kids are interested in being a part of our theater program, I needed a play that had a lot of characters in it,” he says. The play offers that, in spades, with a possible 30 characters across its 26 scenes. Smith ended up with a cast of 26, with a few actors doubling some of the smaller roles. Smith also commends his students on their comic timing, another reason he had for taking on the side-splittingly funny play.
M*A*S*H aficionados will of course be on the lookout for recognizable characters such as Radar O’Reilly, played here by Haley Snow, Hawkeye Pierce, portrayed with gusto by Patrick Corbin, and Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan, played by Zoie Robinson. Each student took to playing their well-known character in a different way, with Snow’s Radar coming off as the most original.
“He’s sort of spacey in this version,” says Smith, “and Haley does a great job balancing Radar’s quiet sincerity with a behavior that is more than a bit left of center.” Robinson too fits into the role of Hotlips Houlihan, though not exactly as you expect.
“She is still tough as nails in this play, but there is a vulnerability to her that Zoie brings out almost effortlessly,” says Smith. Last but not least is Patrick Corbin’s Hawkeye, a deliciously goofy portrayal from the veteran actor who has shown his comedic talents in both Guys and Dolls and The Little Mermaid in years past.
“Pat is so naturally funny that he really doesn’t have to do much acting with this part,” Smith says with a smile, “He knows when to be big and ridiculous, but he also understands how to be quiet and sensitive at crucial dramatic moments too.”
Opposite Corbin is four year veteran Joey White, who plays Hawkeye’s good friend Duke Forrest. Joey has been well known for playing many different characters, but this is his first time playing against type.
“Joey gets to be kinda full of himself and cocky, which is so unlike him,” says Smith. Other veteran performers include Annika Carroll, Kachina McKnight, Georgia Hilliard, and Alexandra Mundt as nurses Bridget, Nancy, Louise, and Janice respectively.
“They make up a tight-knit bunch of friends who are almost as irreverent as the boys in the Swamp are,” Smith says, “they are all friends in real life and so their chemistry is amazing.”
Of course, it goes without saying that there are so many cast members in this show that it is impossible to write a press release that mentions all of them. You’ll just have to see for yourself how great they all are when the show opens on March 3rd. The show will be performed both March 3rd and 4th at 7pm in the CHS/CMS auditorium and tickets are $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for students and children as well as senior citizens. Tickets will be sold at the door both nights starting at 6pm and advance tickets can be bought online at www.showtix4u.com - just search for CHS MASH.
So, if you want a play that is not only fun for the whole family but also a great adaptation of one of the best films and tv shows ever made. Do yourself a favor and put M*A*S*H on your calendar: you won’t regret it.