No ‘Nonsense’

By Melody Vallieu

March 5, 2014

By Melody Vallieu

City Editor

Visitors to this year’s Newton production will have never seen such nonsense in their lives.

The students will take the stage this weekend for “North Woods Nonsense,” a farce that features two sisters who inherit the run-down, Lost Loon Lodge deep in the northern woods of Maine.

The show will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the cafetorium.

The production focuses on an inept congressman whose goal is to destroy all national parks; the congressman’s assistants who are constantly running interference for him; and a “talented” handyman who has a knack for writing tabloid news articles. When an article about Bigfoot brings more than guests to the Lost Loon Lodge, the sisters are faced with more than they can handle.

Lori Sexton, an eighth and 11th grade English teacher at Newton is directing her fourth production with “Nonsense.” This will be her second acting alone as director.

Sexton said each year she tries to select a play that differs in genre, cast size and subject. She said last year the cast performed a dramatic comedy with a smaller cast of 10 that featured a male role.

“While reading plays for this year’s show, I knew I wanted a play that featured a female role, a larger cast and was accessible to audiences of all ages,” said Sexton, who also is the adviser for the senior class, the National Honor Society and the Drama Club. “‘North Woods Nonsense,’ checked every box on my requirement list. In addition, it’s a funny play.”

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and free for children who are not yet in school.

Sexton, in her sixth year at Newton, said productions are open to students in ninth through 12th grade. She said since last year’s cast was so small, she didn’t want to have to cut anyone so she purposefully selected a play that had a larger, flexible cast. She said there were 18 students who auditioned and all 18 received parts. The cast this year consists of nine seniors, four juniors and five freshmen, according to Sexton.

Sexton said working with the cast of “North Woods Nonsense” has been an enjoyable experience for her.

“Newton students are extremely talented in many ways. The seniors are great role models for the younger cast members. They learn their lines quickly and get into character quickly,” she said. “I am looking forward to working with the underclassmen to develop their acting skills over the course of the next few years.”

She said each cast member has their own unique personality as well, adding to the production.

“This particular group of students is very different. Each is his or her own person and is comfortable with who he or she is. That makes for a great mix of personalities,” she said. “I will truly miss working with the seniors. Many of them have acted in every play I have directed. What I particularly love about this group of students is their level of care they show one another.

“The cast is a family and they treat each other as such.”