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MHS to put on 'The Diviners'

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

Editor’s note: Liz Kelsay is the step-daughter of Publisher Linda Kelsay.

The Marion High School theatre is set to premier their performance of the Indiana-based play “The Diviners.”

Based in the fictional town of Zion, the play tells the story of Buddy’s life through a portrayal of his memories. Buddy’s near-death experience in his childhood resulted in brain damage that hinders some of his abilities in adulthood.

Marsha Vermilion, theater director at MHS, said the play takes on a more serious tone than others performed throughout the season. She said that while it has its light-hearted moments, it gives onlookers the impression they’re peering into a real Hoosier’s story.

Adding a play with a heavier tone puts an element of challenge and diversity into the actors’ repertoire, Vermilion said.

Actors like MHS seniors Liz Kelsay and Casey Reaves, who are both anticipating pursuing theater in college, have welcomed the challenge of being part of a serious play and adding it to their acting resumes.

Kelsay said she’s enjoyed being part of “The Diviners” for its down-to-Earth feel.

“You can tell that the people of Zion really mean well, that they’re good-natured people,” she said. “But, in their good-naturedness they make mistakes that are hard to watch.”

Reaves, who is playing Buddy, has approached his role from a place close to home.

Reaves shared that his brother, Colton, is autistic and suffers from Down syndrome, making it difficult to communicate with others. He said playing the role has helped him understand what his brother goes through, and although he feels better making his struggle known in a tasteful way, the thought of his brother’s daily obstacles weighs heavily on him.

“I think this play will be eye-opening to some people the same way it has been for me,” Reaves said. “Presenting mental disabilities through Buddy I think will make it feel more accessible for others to talk about … Overall, I don’t know that Marion has ever done a play like this and I’m excited for people to see it.”

The play runs around an hour and 45 minutes, and is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Walton Center at Marion High School.

Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students, and they will be on sale starting at 6:45 p.m. both nights.