By Marianne Mueller, REPORTER

 Purely spooky Halloween fun came to life on Hononegah High School’s Performing Arts Center stage the weekend before Halloween. Directed by Matthew Mazur a cast, an ensemble and crew brilliantly unfolded this story layer by layer. Lighthearted fun and lots of laughs blended with lighter dramatic moments. Written by L. Don Swartz this Halloween themed comedic story follows five friends who are preparing a haunted house in the basement of Chestnut Hollow Community Center. Scene-by-scene action built as signs of several hauntings appeared. Smoke and colorful lights flashed from under a bathroom door at different times creating striking effects. One of the first to notice weird things starting to occur was the character of Chris (played by the always spot on Camden Sabathne). Chris saw these reflections, but also felt an invisible presence. His reactions were so naturally portrayed that audience members were drawn in. Gracie Sharp brought the role of Meg to life. Jack Hradecky displayed a fully comedic side both with flawless verbal and physical attributes. Mackenzie Hopfauf was brilliant as Justine. Dawson Daffron was adorable as Wendell who at the end of the play is revealed that he has certain family ties connecting him to some of the spooky things that were happening. Sidney Phillips captured positive attention in her role of Sam. Together these characters line deliveries met cues lifting the script right off of the page in a smooth and deliberate manner. Nick Minard and Cole Panjkovich playing Tim and Tom, carried similarities to and were referenced as “Beavis and Butthead.”

Hononegah Senior Luna Picot, proved to be a comedic genius as the cranky older woman Mrs. Growbowski who at times also showed vulnerability. Mrs. Growbowski attempts to keep the fun out of Halloween for the kids, as she is very conservative. Picot shined while remaining fully entertaining throughout the entire show. An ensemble added great depth to scenes as some were spotted in shadows or as painters helping to renovate the community basement. Fourth grader Elizabeth Kramper, who is a rising star, displayed natural talent as Cassie Jones. She played an integral part in telling the full story as little Cassie visited the group of friends in the basement whenever she had the chance. While there, she dropped different hints of things to come each time. In the meantime her father was constantly searching for his daughter. Josh Ponsones (Reuben) gave a stern warning that he did not want her to be down in the basement at any time.

Special effects ranged from a radio that turned itself on and off, special lighting, ghostly sounds and extra-large images of witches and pumpkins floating on the side walls.  On stage background colors and striking Halloween props created a truly fun atmosphere! Working behind the scenes to assure a quality production was Assistant Director – Alyssa Skoglund, Production Assistant – Janyce Miller, Stage Manager – Cierra Conrad, and a team of Lighting, Sound and Tech Directors. Susan Dibble served as Costumes Manager. Faith Fandel and Caitlyn Wilson provided the eye catching props that helped set the stage for each scene! Ghosts danced in the final scene creating Halloween memories and smiles for audiences!

After the curtain call, all cast members hit the stage dancing a special routine to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. A talented cast and crew made “Halloween Screams” heard in the style that only Hononegah High School’s Drama Club can produce. Audiences experienced plenty of chills and thrills along the way!

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