By Jenny Neyman
“The most wicked, the most dastardly, the most evil, the most despicable villain of all time.”
The dastardly villain of reference would be Rolland N. Dough. A name and title like that, and audience participation to boot, can only mean one thing — melodrama.
Specifically, the Kenai Performers’ youth drama club performed “Rollin’ in Dough in Mistletoe” Saturday at Soldotna Creek Park. The play joined music, hot cocoa and cookies, singing, a visit from Santa and the lighting of the Christmas tree in the city’s second annual Christmas in the Park celebration.
This was the first public performance of the newly formed Kenai Performers’ youth program. The drama club is for grades six to 12 and meets Monday evenings during the school year. Sally Cassano, Kenai Performers board president, said the club involves everything from onstage performing to backstage set building.
“I’ve wanted for a long time, and so has Terri, to come up with a program for kids, like an after school-type of program, much in the spirit of Boys and Girls Club, that sort of thing, where they have something to do and they’re learning from a young age. Things like theater vocab, theater etiquette, theater everything,” Cassano said.
Board member Terri Burdick also runs the drama club, and directed “Rollin’ in Dough in Mistletoe.” Because nothing says Christmas like dastardly villains and damsels in distress, set in the Wild West, no less.
“I love melodrama and it kind of shows,” she said. “And as I was looking through Christmas scripts this melodrama just said, ‘Terri, this is it.’ And I liked that it has the Christmas song lyrics in it because it makes it funny and just fun.”
In the play, the fine, upstanding merchants of Mistletoe are about to lose their businesses as, “the most wicked, the most dastardly, the most evil…” Rolland N. Dough is foreclosing on their properties. The town’s only hope is to find the golden rings supposedly buried somewhere by a miner back in the gold rush days. How many golden rings, you ask?
“Five golden rings!” delivered in an off-key shout by Sheriff Evergreen, played by Julianna Hamilton.
“That’s right pretty. Would you sing that again?” asks the goodhearted — if dimwitted — Deputy Randolf, the bowlegged cowboy, played by Brently Power.
Evergreen obliges, continuously off key, as she’s so distraught over the situation in town.
Randolf must find the rings to restore harmony to the town — and Evergreen’s singing — as well as win the hand of his beloved toy store merchant, Holly Berry, played by Brittany Gilman.
Does the guy get the girl? Does the ditzy blonde get a clue? Does the villain get his due? Yes, yes and yes. More importantly, the drama club got its debut.
“They’re having a blast doing it and we’re having a blast teaching it,” Cassano said.
For more information about the drama club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.