The stars align for student-staged space epic

High school theater isn’t normally a place for dreamers. It’s a place for anyone who’s got the pipes to pull off a respectable Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” or the dramatic chops to deliver a believable George Gibbs in “Our Town.”

These shows are normally great – well-performed and well-directed. And now, in the last two out of three years, students have been given the opportunity to stage their own shows after musical season, with minimal adult supervision.

This year on June 8 and 9, the offering was “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” adapted from Douglas Adams’ classic comedy-sci-fi novel and concurrent screenplay. “Hitchhiker’s” is the story of Arthur Dent, a remarkably average dude who is saved by an alien from a race of alien bureaucrats who want to destroy Earth to make way for an intergalactic freeway.

Hijinx abound. As do extraterrestrials, cults, cross-spatial transmissions, ageless computers, and bipolar rockstar politicians from the Betelgeuse Nebula (read the book). The Red Hook Performing Arts Club, in their quest to stage a space epic without parental supervision, was a long way from Grover’s Corners.

Missy Sekul, a senior, attested to this. Missy played the roles of a Space Whale, an antagonistic alien, and the main spaceship’s very cheery doors (again, read the book). “The fact that the show was run by students was, of course, very difficult, but this is also what attracted some of our cast and crew,” Missy said. “When we first started learning our lines, and some of us just getting acquainted, we had a lot of fun, probably more than we should have. We goofed around a lot and did silly things; it was all fun and games. About a month before the show, some of us started to get nervous, thinking, ‘Oh man, how are we going to pull this off?’”

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