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Trinity Christian School to perform original play

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Students were learning the 'ready position' stance during a stage combat exercise on the stage of The Carson Center in Paducah.

CARBONDALE -- High school students at Trinity Christian School will perform an original play by a published playwright Feb. 28 at the Varsity Center for the Arts.

Becky Shaffer, Trinity Christian School drama teacher, spent last summer reading plays in an attempt to find a quality piece of drama for a cast of eight boys and two girls.

Unable to find what she was looking for, Shaffer turned to friend and playwright, Katelyn Beyke-Storm, to custom write a play for her cast.

Beyke-Storm, who has published three plays for high school students and several other one act plays that have been performed, was eight months pregnant when she got the call from Shaffer, giving her only one month to finish the play.

She may be in the audience Feb. 28 when her play "The Young and the Chivalrous" is performed, and Shaffer admits she will be conscious of the author's presence.

"I'm very aware of the students saying the lines verbatim because I know that the playwright will be in the house watching her words come to life, so I don't want to mess with that," Shaffer said. "On the other hand, it's nice because there's nothing to compare it with, so our first vision gets to be the original vision."

Beyke-Storm said it's not always comfortable watching one of her plays performed.

"It's really nerve wracking because I don't know if what I've written is entertaining or not," Beyke-Storm said. "It's entertaining to me, but I've got a weird sense of humor. I don't know if it's funny to anyone else."

The play tells the tale of a want-to-be knight who has fallen in love with a lady who shows little interest because he's just a squire.

While attempting to woo her with chivalry, he falls for the ladies' handmaid who proves she is a real friend.

With no drama budget, Shaffer had to borrow costumes from the Stage Company and John A. Logan College and props from Carterville High School.

"I just think it's a good indication of the camaraderie in our area in the theater world," Shaffer said. "This is not the first time I've had these same groups help me out with plays."

Shaffer teaches drama to students in grades 3 through 12 at Trinity Christian School and is able to witness a transformation take place within her students as they gain confidence on the stage. 

"I've seen Eli Greer go from the first year he did theater -- very timid -- to now just taking commanding performance in this lead that he has and he's enjoying it," Shaffer said. "It's gone from being a scary thing to something he really enjoys."

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