‘Check Please’ hitting stage

Megan Hawkins and Ben Hernes are seen on stage practicing Fairmont Jr./Sr. High School’s spring play “Check Please.” The play opens at 8 p.m. tonight in the Performing Arts Center at the high school.

This year’s spring play at the Fairmont Jr./Sr. High School is a comedy called “Check Please.”

It will be performed 8 p.m. tonight and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Performing Arts Center at the high school. The cost is $7 for adults and free for students with an ID badge, otherwise $5 for students.

“It’s sort of a dating show that tells the story of two singles who are trying to go on a series of blind dates to find someone to spend their time with,” said director Sara Gudahl. “And each individual is just a little more interesting than the one that came before.”

This is Gudahl’s third time directing the spring play. Jonas Nissen is co-directing. Mark Hernes is the technical director and Erik Walker handles the lighting.

Over the years, the time the play has been staged has varied, as some years it has been called the “winter play” and others the “spring play.”

“I coach basketball so that’s a sticking point because I couldn’t be doing two things at once,” Gudahl explained.

Play practice began the last week in February, so the group has been working on it for about six weeks. Students in grades 9-12 are able to audition, and Gudahl said she was able to include 28 students in the production.

“We have some first-timers in this show who have never performed before so that’s exciting for them to have their first shot,” she said.

While the school’s fall musical is open to students in grades 7-12, the play is just open to students in grades 9-12.

“I am looking at trying to expand the program though,” Gudahl said. “I’ve been doing children’s theater at the Opera House and now that I’ve seen a progression, I’d like to have something at every level for kids who would like to perform.”

When it comes to deciding what play to do each year, Gudahl asks the students whether they want to perform a drama or a comedy, full-length or short. The run time for “Check Please” is just over an hour.

“We try to choose a show that fits our people, but I’m really here for them,” Gudahl said. “They’re very fond of comedies. We did a comedy last year and they wanted another one.”

For “Check Please,” the stage will be set up as a restaurant and there will only ever be two people on stage at once.

“This is a play for character actors,” she noted. “Only two of the people on the stage have any semblance of normality. If you can think about any individual quirk or character trait that a person might have, it becomes a blown-up impression of those. It’s really designed for people to stretch their abilities.”

Since there are only ever two people on stage at once and because the students have busy schedules filled with other activities, the cast has not yet been all together for practice.

“It makes it easier but a little more nerve-wracking,” Gudahl said. “But the kids are pros and they just figure it out. I also have a great stage crew who’s backstage managing it.”