The title says it all.
“Parents Just Don’t Understand.”
And a group of 18 Ilwaco High School students intends to prove it.
The IHS choir room will be turned into a black-box theater for four performances of the comedy Nov. 22, Nov. 23 and Nov. 24.
Director Rachel Lake said those attending will find the lines resonate with all ages.
“The play is a grouping of vignettes about raising teenagers,” she said. “It is highly comical.
“I was in the musical, ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ with the Peninsula Players, and I loved how it was set up with small groupings of the cast.”
The cast and crew members are Tristan Trudell, Brendan Chabot, Will Murray, Cole Allen, Patrick Reddy, Emma Lake, Erin Hines, Jasmine Do, Aimee Meinhardt, Holly Willing, Kaitlyn Fisher-Pinto, Kat Johnson, Serena Khun, Kaylynn Ward, Carolina Mendez, Alex Carper, Matthew Do and Owen Cotrone.
Will Murray said it’s all about modern family life — but hyperbole. “This is a show that’s almost universally relatable,” the senior said. “I have argued with my parents about these sort of things. Parents and even grandparents will relate to it. There’s a lot of awesome one-liners and good dialogue.”
Fellow senior Serena Kuhn agreed. “You can relate to everything in it as a teenager,” said Kuhn, appearing in her first winter play. “It has been a really fun experience — the script is funny.”
The students play multiple parts — portraying teenagers, parents and even grandparents. In one scene, a father has burned down the family garage while deep-frying the Thanksgiving turkey. Taking the family out to an Italian restaurant causes his long-suffering kids to roll their eyes.
In another, parents are busily composing what they believe are heartfelt Christmas thank-you letters — only to have their children label every suggested comment as lame. A third scene sees an optimistic mother taking her teenager clothes shopping — but she is inevitably unable to find anything suitable.
The playwright, Bryan Starchman, is a California high school English teacher whose 18 plays have been produced around the world. He concedes there is an element of autobiography in his comedies about inter-generational relationships. The play’s title is borrowed from the 1980s’ hip-hop song by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
Starchman once told an interviewer: “Imagine if when you were a kid you decided to compile the 10 or so most memorable, embarrassing, crazy times you had growing up. I imagine it would look something like this play.”
Murray, who hopes for a career in acting, is finding the rehearsal process rewarding as opening night approaches. “It’s being able to create something enjoyable for people to come see, and spend time with your cast-mates, have fun, and bond with them as friends.”
At a recent practice, Lake spent almost as much time laughing when her students delivered their lines as she did directing the 10 vignettes.
“This play is extremely close to my heart,” she said. “I currently have two wonderful teenagers…”