Two separate casts will take the stage for the Hudson High School production of "The Nerd."
The play is one director Kari Heisler has been wanting to do for years. She first saw it performed by her high school's theater program after her graduation.
"I've been waiting to do it," Heisler said.
"The Nerd" follows Willum, an aspiring architect who in the midst of building his career and developing relationships has never forgotten about the man who saved his life during the war. Though they never met, Willum and his rescuer Rick Steadman have remained in touch over the years.
Willum had promised to do anything for Rick after he saved his life, but those limits are soon tested. Rick shows up, and proves himself to be the "nerd" of the title, bumbling through social interactions and showing no awareness of the reactions he causes.
The cast is made up of only seven parts. With 40 students auditioning this year, Heisler decided to double cast.
"Give more kids the opportunity to be on stage here," she said.
Each cast will perform four shows.
The show runs April 4-14 with performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Before you see it, meet a few of the casts members:
Chase Kloster - Willum "White Cast"
Senior Chase Kloster enjoys the transformation his character Willum goes through over the course of the play.
"His life is just completely turned around. I go from being all put together to just being all strung-apart," Kloster said.
That change is fun to play, he said, especially as the story progresses and the bits get more and more ridiculous.
"I get to be the center of attention for a lot of it, and that's a lot of fun," he said.
The play is the funniest Kloster has read.
"We did a read through just with our small cast and even within the first like 5 or 10 pages we were all just laughing the whole time," he said.
This is Kloster's fifth show, and he said he enjoys the family the program creates. Though there are two casts this year, they all support each other. They have the benefit of having another person working through their role, someone to talk with and help form the character.
"We get to sit here and watch somebody else do exactly what we're going to be doing, but also different. We get kind of an idea of what is good and what we want to do different," he said.
Razik Saifullah - Willum "Blue Cast"
Junior Razik Saifullah also plays Willum, and enjoys that they share similarities. "He's really awkward, really shy, really timid in situations that he doesn't really know how to react to," he said. "And I really enjoy his development throughout the play."
He goes from timid and shy to someone with nothing holding him back, Saifullah said.
"It's pretty poetic," he said.
He likes the play and its humor, but appreciates that there's depth to it as well.
"Beneath the really, really funny bits and banter and all that, it really has some deep connections to some people who just aren't motivated to take that extra leap and do what they really want to do," he said.
Saifullah has been in 10 productions. He likes that theater is a way of sharing each other's passion.
"Every person in the show is impacted by each other," he said, as well as impacting those in the audience.
Daniel Volk - Rick "Blue Cast"
Senior Daniel Volk takes on the titular role of "The Nerd," Rick Steadman. He enjoys how obnoxious his character is.
"He just doesn't really understand how to function socially, even a little bit," he said. "It really takes advantage of Rick's awkwardness a lot so it's pretty abnormal situations."
Having two casts has made the production really interesting, he said.
"I think its been really helpful to see what the other cast is doing and check on what we're doing and everything," he said.
He and his counterpart Ben Gagliardi have grown their characters together.
Volk has been in 11 productions. He enjoys the chance to live in someone else's shoes for a bit.
"It's great to be able to play characters that we aren't in real life," he said.
Sydney Rossini - Tansy "Blue Cast"
Senior Sydney Rossini plays Tansy, Willum's love interest. She enjoys that while Tansy is kind of the stereotypical female love interest, she is also doing her own thing.
"She's got a lot of moments in the show where she might be boring but you find out she's actually really funny," she said.
Rossini likes the frank humor of the play.
"It's just goofy and it's not trying to be too serious and it's not trying too hard to be funny, it's just funny," she said.
This is Rossini's second show. She likes the community formed on stage.
"I like that the group of people I'm with are just so funny and fun to be around," she said.
Though she said the process can be tiring, in the end the benefit is easy to see.
"All the hours you put into it wind up on stage," Rossini said.