Hippies, feminists and burgeoning politicians will take the stage this weekend as characters in Soldotna High School's latest production "We Were Stardust."
The play, another one of SoHi teacher Mike Druce's original masterpieces, depicts the lives of a group of young adult friends and how they navigate through personal struggles as well as the social and political turmoil of the times.
"The idea being that each of these characters kind of experience this period of time in different ways," Druce said.
The narrative is based around the main character Simon (played by Darien Green) who is telling the story of his youthful relationship with Annie (played by Delana Duncan) through reflective monologues and live-action memories.
Complete with references to pop and political icons like Bob Dylan ("Personally Bob Dylan inspires my social conscious"), Che Guevara ("Who's Che Guevara? He must be the guy from the Grateful Dead") and Timothy Leary, watching the play is like peering into an encyclopedia of the era.
"It's kind of like I am looking into the 60s, better than a movie," said Mason Galbraith, 16, a sophomore, who plays Ben, a young man waiting to be drafted to go to Vietnam.
Dakota Elsy, an 18-year-old senior, said that some people might actually be able to relate to the play's subject matter.
"My grandpa was a hippie," he said.
But Riley Thompson, 17, a junior, said she could not relate to it at all.
"If I related to any portion of my character my mother would kill me," said the girl who plays a hippie in the show.
But she does like the music that plays in between the 57 scene changes.
"We've got Simon and Garfunkel," she said.
"Who?" Elsy asked her.
"Here's to you Mrs. Robinson," Thompson sang, breaking out into the popular number.
The scenes that weave the story, history and music together are short and tight. Although there are several main characters in the play, it is really an ensemble piece and Druce wrote it to be that way.
"I want to get as many kids involved in theater as possible," he said.
Druce, who typically writes his own scripts, put on "We Were Stardust" with another group of students nine years ago but the show this year has evolved to fit the current cast.
The set is much better, with four distinct areas and more exciting props than what he had in the past, he said.
When asked if the play was at all autobiographical, Druce shied away from the question.
"More no than yes," he said. "Some of the things are based on the things I personally experienced. A lot is fictionalized, composites of people."
He said the main theme throughout the show is commitment, whether is being committed to a cause or a relationship.
The relationship between lead characters Simon and Annie is "kind of emblematic of the times," he said.
And viewers should be aware of the tearjerker ending.
"Like Old Yeller," Galbraith said.
But that shouldn't stop anyone from coming to see the show's impeccable costumes, colorful sets and fascinating story line.
"Coming to the play is cheaper than seeing a movie," Galbraith added.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at email@example.com.
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