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Headin’ to Manson

MNW HS students to perform 'Headin' For the Hills'

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Aubree Jones, plays the part as Sally Merriwether and Trinity Johnson as Joe Martin interact in a scene at the train station. When they met it was love at first sight until they discover they are from rival publishing companies.

MANSON – Two families feuding? What can be more entertaining than that?

Manson Northwest Webster high school students will perform the play “Headin’ For the Hills’ Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the high school auditorium each evening at 7 p.m.

Director Kimberly Keller said although “Headin’ For the Hills” may not be a very well known play, it brings a lot of entertainment to the stage.

“It’s a fun, fast-paced hillbilly show that will really appeal to a variety of audience members,” she said.

The storyline is based on two feuding families, the Tollivers and Calhouns.

“They are in the hills, somewhere in the middle of nowhere,” said Keller. “They have had a long-standing feud and two publishing companies hear about the feud and they’re struggling and they would like to buy the story. There is a great race to see who can get the story first so they can save their publishing company.”

What on earth could keep the Tollivers and Calhouns in such a longstanding feud?

“That’s the big question that nobody really knows,” said Keller. “But, at the end of the play, we finally ask the right question on how this feud began and a very old resident, Antiquity Wormwood comes along to tell us what it is all about.”

Antiquity Wormwood is played by Naiven Moore.

Keller said the play features a cast of approximately 50 cast members.

Trinity Johnson plays the part of Joe Martin.

“Joe is one of the reporters associated with a publishing company,” said Keller. “He not only is trying to save his publishing company, he also gets into a little bit of romance with someone of the competiting publishing company.”

That love interest is Sally Merriwether played by Aubree Jones.

“Sally is part of a publishing group, so she is trying to get the Tollivers and Calhouns that are a part of the feud to sign for a book for her publishing company,” said Keller.

“It’s really fun. It’s really goofy. It’s been a lot of fun to rehearse and it’s going to be really exciting to put on,” said Jones.

Jones said she has played a part in the fall play every year of high school.

“I have been really involved with everything that I can,” she said. “I am really going to miss it and I really appreciate all the hard work that everyone puts in – especially this year with how hard it’s been with the rushed times. Everyone has done a great job.”

Then there’s Bubba.

“He is a member of one of the warring clans,” said Keller. “They are goofy and backwoods and everything that is not pleasant.”

Bubba is played by Cael Collins, and he feels it has been a nice match.

“It hasn’t been very hard to play Bubba,” said Collins. “Naturally, I am just goofy. I really don’t take things seriously and this is perfect.”

Falling into such a natural role made Collins’ first year in the fall play a lot easier.

“This is my first time. I have been involved in speech before,” he said. “I love it. It’s fun. All the people around me are so energetic. No one ever fights. It’s been a good time.”

For Keller, the entire cast, she said has been magnificent to work with.

“With everything going on, I have appreciated that everyone is really good at wearing masks at all the rehearsals,” she said. “We have lost a few kids to the virus, but everybody is just really supportive and we even had a shortened rehearsal schedule in order to avoid as much time together as possible.”

A shortened rehearsal schedule has definitely had its challenges.

“The kids have really stepped up,” she said. “I just really appreciate how hard they are working. They really are a sweet group of kids.”

The three nightly performances are limited to half capacity, so Keller recommends getting your tickets right away. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students and can be purchased through the Manson Northwest Webster High School office by calling 712-469-2245.

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