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Fairland High School ready to present ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

ROME TOWNSHIP — By this time next week Dessa Fairchild will no doubt have mastered the fine art of quick change. ‘Cause when Dessa gets into character, she really gets into that character as she portrays the man-eating plant in “The Little Shop of Horrors.”

That one-time Broadway hit that was turned into a movie is this spring’s musical presented by the drama students of Fairland High School this weekend.

Dessa has four changes to make during the play as she grows from the potted plant in the front window to a life-size Venus Fly Trap kind of creature.

So what’s it like dressing up like a monster plant?

“It takes a long time to get into. It’s very hot and sweaty,” she said. “But it does feel kind of cool to eat people. You don’t get to do that on a daily basis.”

Deciding to present the offbeat musical was the idea of Tara Sansom, Fairland High drama coach.

“We had done “Grease,” “Oklahoma,” and “Cinderella” and “Music Man.” We have a lot of the big ones and I was looking for something different,” Sansom said. “This is not the traditional sappy love story. It is a different show.”

The play focuses on a down-and-out flower shop on Skid Row that’s about to be closed by the owner. By just in the nick of time, the klutz assistant discovers “Audrey II,” such an unusual plant that customers start swarming around.

Which is good for the shop, but not so good for those who come in contact with Miss Audrey. That’s because she likes to show her admirers her extra-long pearly whites as she gobbles them down.

All stages of Audrey are recreated through puppets under the control of Dessa from one that is just hand-held to those she had to get inside,

“The play is kind of weird. The kids will love the puppets and the parents will understand the sarcastic remarks,” she said.

Doubling her duties for the three-night run is Fairland High senior Adrienne Goodwin who plays the heroine and also directs.

“This is really fun,” Adrienne said. “I’ve always enjoyed the theater and this is a great show for my last year.”

As to picking a favorite between acting and directing, she says she can’t. Both can have their stressful moments as well as great rewards. But it’s when the curtain comes down and the applause rises that she appreciates all the hard work that goes into a production.

“When people come up at the end of the show and say that we do such a good job,” she said. “To take all those compliments.”

Allowing her students to have more of a hand in the production is deliberate on Sansom’s part as each year she has turned more responsibility over to them.

“We have three students who directed,” she said. “Students who designed all the sets. They were built by a teacher but designed by students. They run their own back stage, so that they feel like it is theirs.

“We have a bunch of neat kids and this show is right up their alley. They are having such a good time.”

If you go:

“Little Shop of Horrors” will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday with the Sunday show at 3 p.m. Reserved tickets are $15 and are on sale at the high school.

General admission at the door will be $10 with children under 5 free.