By Marianne Mueller, REPORTER

 Hononegah’s Drama Club invites audiences into a journey full of laughs, thrills and chills as they present “Halloween Screams” at the Performing Arts Center. Written by L. Don Swartz, this Halloween-themed comedic story follows five friends who are preparing a haunted house in the basement of the local community center. Under the direction of Matt Mazur, a 31- member cast is hitting the stage ready to provide pure entertainment. Jack Hradecky has played a wide variety of roles. Halloween Screams is Hradecky’s 26th show; his eighth on the Hononegah High School stage. He has appeared in productions with YTP, Roscoe Middle School, Bonzi Productions and HHS. In “Halloween Screams,” Hradecky portrays Brian. Hradecky compares differences in this role over those previously played. “What makes Brian so different from other parts in the show is his lightheartedness. He, unlike most characters, tends to find the humor in everything, even in the more dramatic parts of the show. I think the character of Brian is probably the most challenging role I have ever taken.” “Although there are certainly parts of his character that I connect with, he is a departure from roles I have played in the past. Most of the characters I have played previously have been very smart, witty and have a flair for the dramatic. Brian, on the other hand, is really just an everyman kind of guy – he is very comedic in a sarcastic way.” “The toughest part of this play is finding the balance between the drama and the comedy. This show, although it has a very light tone overall, definitely has some dramatic moments in the scarier scenes. Trying to draw humor out of the scarier scenes is difficult, but the cast is really getting the hang of it,” lauds Hradecky.

Another well-known thespian is Luna Picot, who is no stranger to the stage. She has a handful of plays in her repertoire. Last year Picot gave an unforgettable performance in Hononegah’s fall play, “The Importance of Being Ernest.” In “Halloween Screams,” Picot plays Mrs. Growbowski. Mrs. Growbowski is a cranky, older woman who wants to take the fun out of Halloween for the kids, as she is very conservative. “This part is similar to my part in last year’s play, in that I play the antagonist. But it’s unique in that there’s a more likeable comedic quality in her that makes it so much fun to play,” said Picot. Behind the scenes work can pose unseen obstacles. “The most challenging thing about the play this year was probably getting the set and props done in time. This year we tried some new things and hopefully it pays off,” said Picot.

Madison Oster is stepping into the role of Mrs.Splagoiten. “My character is a Grandmother figure that is grouchy, but appreciates a good scare. The fact that she isn’t one to just accept things are what I feel makes her unique. Granted she has one line and is mentioned a few other times I couldn’t be happier to be Mrs. Splagoiten,” said Oster. “This play is totally spooktacular! Just wait and see for yourselves!”

Erin Davis plays a girl named Stephanie, as well as having a part in an ensemble. Davis has previously appeared in three musicals in middle school. “Halloween Screams” is her first play at Hononegah. In developing Stephanie, Davis has to act a bit shy which has proven to be tougher than expected at times. With many hours of practice time under their belt, the cast and crew has grown to become like a family.

“Working with Mr. Mazur again, and the cast; has been a really rewarding experience,” said Hradecky. “I think that everyone learns from each other in such a large ensemble. This cast has worked really hard over the last two months trying to put this show together.” “I think the audience will see how much we have put into this. The show is really family friendly, with a lot of over the top humor mixed with a few Halloween frights in there.” “As far as our cast goes, if you get past the conflict of putting seniors next to freshman, and everyone in-between we actually all love each other very much,” said Picot. “It has been a pleasure as usual to make these people my family. Theater is just great like that.” “The cast this year definitely has a sense of humor, and I feel right at home with everyone,” said Oster. “I have loved nearly every minute of the production. Without the PAC and costume crew, it just couldn’t have been done! I am proud to be a part of it all!”

“It is amazing to be with a group of friends who I can be fun yet serious with. We make up such a wonderful ensemble,” said Davis. “What I love most about the whole cast is that we can trust each other, work well together and have each other’s back whether it’s for food, a ride home or for advice. The overall production is funny yet dark, and even though I know the whole play I still scream and shiver during certain parts.”

Show times for “Halloween Screams” are Oct. 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. with a matinee on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m.

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