Every year, Fairmont puts on a fall play, but this year’s play is extra special. Fairmont graduate Nancy Cartwright will have the lead role in the fall play, If I Were You. Cartwright is the voice of Bart Simpson on the popular TV series, The Simpsons.
Cartwright is excited to come back to her hometown and “help out the good folks of Kettering.” She’s also looking forward to working with the students in the fall play. “I’m excited to actually be on stage with the students doing the performance,” she said.
Six Fairmont students were cast in the play with Cartwright. They are seniors Allie Dyer, Kevin Erman, Jay Kain, Tim Green and Kat Yghbuhay and freshman Caroline Grogan.
“When I was casting, I looked for talent, but also I wanted to choose students who would be good representatives of Fairmont,” said Social Studies teacher and play director Ross Taylor. “This is a very special opportunity for these students to be in a play with a professional, and I wish I could have chosen more than six students.”
Fairmont’s first Reader’s Theater production
The reason for small cast is because this year’s play is Fairmont’s very first Reader’s Theater production. The actors will be using only their voices to convey the message, without the use of any props, sets, makeup or costumes. “We hope to portray the power of the written word and give the audience the experience with the delivery of our voices,” said Taylor.
Dyer, who plays the circus owner, Mrs. Johnson, enjoys the Reader’s Theater style, but finds that it is harder. “Just acting with my voice is more difficult because I can’t just hide behind movement,” said Dyer. “It is hard to not have visual cues when I’m interacting with other actors.”
Cartwright appreciates the fine art of storytelling in Reader’s Theater. “It gets the listener to be able to contribute to the art form,” she said. “Storytelling invites the imagination to create the images and inspires creativity in anyone who listens.”
Green also thinks that Reader’s Theater is more difficult. “It is a different kind of challenge,” said Green. “In the beginning, I wasn’t prepared for it, but now that we’ve been practicing, it feels more and more like any other play.”
If I Were You chosen as this year’s play
The play If I Were You is set in a circus. Cartwright plays the main character Little Tom Little, a midget who struggles with accepting himself. Through a series of twists and turns, Little realizes that, in the end, it is better to be himself. Narrating the play will be Fox 45 morning anchor Pete Scalia.
Cartwright was Little Tom Little in the original performance of If I Were You in Hollywood a number of years ago. She helped choose this play for Fairmont because, she said, “the reading created such a lovely effect on the audience. It created such a magical feeling.”
Cartwright has been an advocate of The American Library Association since the early ‘90s. “I work with at-risk kids in my community with a literacy program that is just getting fabulous results,” said Cartwright. “I guess you could say that I am a total fan of reading and so Reader’s Theater just seemed a natural fit.”
Every year, Taylor tries to pick plays that send an important and timely message to the audience. “If I Were You gives the message that we should focus on the soul of a person and not be so caught up on appearance,” he said.
The show times are 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20. The tickets cost $15. The show will be in Fairmont’s Recital Hall, which holds about 200 people. “We chose the Recital Hall to give the audience an intimate experience. But it is small, so I urge students to get their tickets now,” said Taylor.
Cartwright and Scalia join in the fun
With both Cartwright and Scalia in the play, Fairmont will be getting attention from the media. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our district to showcase the arts and a positive way to call attention to the district,” said Taylor.
Half of the proceeds made from the play will be given to the Kettering Schools Office of Community Literacy Programs, which helps teach adults and children how to read.
All of the cast members are excited to work with Cartwright and Scalia. “It is going to be a great experience and something great to put on a resume,” said Green.
Grogan also is thrilled. “I am so excited that Nancy Cartwright is doing the play with us,” she said. “Fairmont is very lucky to have this opportunity.”
Taylor can’t conceal his enthusiasm about this special fall play. “I’m just thrilled about the students having this opportunity,” he said. “It’s satisfying to facilitate these students. I feel like I get so much from them. This is my way to give back.”