Life Happened Here: The HHS Fall Play


Photo curtosey of Lors photography

Senior Jess Ketterer(left), acts alongside juniors Bryan Emery(middle) and Erwin Galvez(right).

Natasha Fidler and Megan Bertrand

 The Hightstown Drama department’s production of “Up the Down Staircase” was held on December 8, 9, and 10.

  The play featured new teacher, Sylvia Barrett (played by senior Jess Ketterer), and her first semester at a new school filled with challenging students.

  Other characters in the play included the staff of the school. Characters such as Bea Schaffer (played by senior Victoria Retterholt) tried to help Sylvia get adjusted, while other characters such as Vice Principal  (played by junior Bryan Emery) were in charge of making and enforcing the many rules of the school.

  The show opened up on Sylvia Barrett’s first day at Calvin Coolidge High School. She was immediately overwhelmed by the confusing lingo, the disrespectful students, and all the rules. From there, she met many characters such as the motherly character Bea Schaeffer, the uptight vice principal, and the struggling author Paul Barringer (played by senior Byron Ruf). The play follows her journey as she navigates through her new job and makes many important decisions.

  The cast members for the show enjoyed being a part of this play.

   “I felt like we became one big family,” senior Byron Ruf said.

  The feeling of family was also felt by other people in the cast.

  “We are one huge family and I know that I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime,” Ketterer said.

  The biggest challenge for Ketterer was switching between a musical and acting role.

  “I am so used to being in the musicals and expressing myself through song and dance. So I really had to become the character and use my voice to tell the story” Ketterer said.  

  Junior Erwin Galvez played the role of Joe Ferone, a troubled youth who was in serious need of a teacher’s attention. Galvez was asked what his favorite part of participating in “Up The Down Staircase.”

  “My favorite part of the play was bringing the characters alive especially such profound characters. I also enjoyed that we got to play characters from the 60’s it was a really fun experience” Galvez said.  

  Throughout the play the audience found themselves rooting for Joe Ferone. He was a troubled youth in need of attention. The new teacher, Sylvia Barrett, was just the person willing to offer that attention. From the moment that Ferone walked into the classroom the audience hoped that Miss Barrett would not give up on him.

  But alongside Joe Ferone’s problems were the struggles of Alice Blake. She was a younger student that was madly in love with Paul Barringer. The climax of the play happened when Alice wrote a love letter to Paul, which he then found and corrected like an English paper.

  This was Ruf’s favorite scene.

  “The way each character reacted in that in the moment, with my character grammar correcting the love struck students letter as she sobs her eyes out next to me, made for a ridiculous build up to the tragedy of the show,” Ruf said.

  The tragedy that he was referring to was Alice Blake attempting to commit suicide by jumping out a window after Paul found her letter. She ended up in the hospital for all of the second act, and made audiences worry about her and hope she would get better.

  “Up The Down Staircase” was performed extremely well by the drama students of Hightstown High school. The show showed audiences lovable characters and real stories, who represented real problems and were all relatable.