'So I Thought' is a smart comedy and a tragedy, and an original playBy APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent April 16. 2014 9:36PM
LONDONDERRY — What would happen if everyone said exactly what was on their mind, all the time?
An original play by Londonderry High School senior Marc Lussier aims to answer that very question.
Lussier’s play, “So I Thought,” will be performed at Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry tonight, during the second act of LHS Theatre Night.
The school’s Improve Comedy Troupe, also organized by Lussier, will devote the first act of the program to a performance inspired by the television show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”
Both acts represent an entire year’s worth of planning, writing and imagining, Lussier said during a rehearsal earlier this week.
A longtime Drama Club member, Lussier developed the Theatre Night program, which he hopes will become an annual tradition at the high school, as his senior service project.
The elective senior service project program allows students to pursue a topic or idea of their choice throughout their senior year, under the guidance of a staff mentor.
Since 2011, between 12 to 25 students have participated in the program annually, with participants penning novels, creating video games and organizing fundraisers for charities, among other things.
Lussier said he found inspiration for his play script during dozens of interviews with fellow students.
“The idea was to have the show be an honest one, one that is realistic when it comes to peoples’ lives,” he said. “So I came up with a world where everyone’s thoughts are blurted right out. The end result is both a comedy and a tragedy.”
Lussier also interviewed several professional directors from acting troupes around the region since another component of the senior project involves a research paper.
“I learned a lot about what makes a good director,” said Lussier, who will study educational theater this fall at NYU.
Eighteen of Lussier’s classmates appear in “So I Thought,” with another 13 participating in the improve troupe.
Lussier said he’s hoping to reach out to young actors who might otherwise go unnoticed.
“After the spring musical passes by, interest seems to dwindle in the drama program,” he added. “There are also plenty of students who like acting, but aren’t too fond of being in a musical. This way there’s something for everyone.”
English teacher Zachary Paone, who served as Lussier’s adviser, said he was impressed with the young man’s passion and enthusiasm for the project.
“He approached me with this idea around this time last year,” Paone said. “I could really relate to the project because I didn’t do musicals in high school but I always loved to act.”
Paone, who also works with the school’s Drama Club, said he hopes to see Theatre Night become an annual tradition.
“I’ve already talked to quite a few interested underclassmen,” he said. “And I’ll be happy to help them out in any way I can.”
Admission to tonight’s show is $5, with tickets sold at the door. Proceeds from the event will go toward next year’s show.