The Poplar Pike Playhouse is preparing for it’s latest fall production, Is He Dead? The show is a satire audience members of all ages will enjoy. The PPP’s newest faculty member, Jeff White, will direct this year’s fall production.
Jeff White is not new to the play or the PPP stage. White is a Germantown High School alum and returned to direct the children’s plays on the PPP stage in the early 2000’s. He played Jean-Francois Millet in Germantown Community Theatre’s 2009 production of Is He Dead? White says he’s excited to bring his interpretation to life this fall.
“I’ve always hung onto this show. I think it is really funny. I’ve always felt it was perfect for a high school theatre production because it’s total farce, it’s super silly, and it’s a great ensemble piece,” White says.
Written by Mark Twain, and adapted by David Ives, Is He Dead? tells the story ofJean-Francois Millet, a young painter who is in love with Marie Leroux but in debt to a villainous picture-dealer. Millet faces foreclosure andyears in prison unless he allows Marie to marry the picture-dealer. Millet realizes faking his death will not only allow him to pay his debts and keep Marie from marrying the dealer, but also may bring him fame and fortune. Millet’s fabricated death gives birth to his new persona, Widow Tillou, Millet’s “twin sister”. Now a rich "widow," he must find a way to get out of a dress, return to his previous identity, and marry Marie.
The student cast is excited to tackle the clever script. From German and Irish accents to slapstick comedy and gross misunderstandings, the student actors are immersing themselves into every nuance of the show. Stage actor, Andrew Heady says, “The challenge for me is getting used to the accents and all of the physicality in the show. The choreographed punching, kicking, and slapping is fun to learn as we bring the show to life.”
Not only is this the first time for White and the cast to work together, but also, this is the first time for some actors to perform on stage. Tate Jakobi says,” This is my first production on stage. I have been enjoying my experiences with Mr.White and the cast so much,” says Tate Jakobi. “I didn’t expect my initial acting experience to be in such a fun environment with a small group of actors seriously working to make sure this play is the comedy it's meant to be.”
Is He Dead? opens October 26th and will run through November 4th. For more information, call the Poplar Pike Playhouse Box Office at (901) 755-7775 or visit PPP.org. To keep up with the latest news, follow the Playhouse on Facebook, Instagram (@poplarpikeplayhouse), or Twitter (@ppptheatre).
The Poplar Pike Playhouse is the theatre complex located on the campus of Germantown High School.