GREENFIELD — With a title like "Any Body For Tea," you know going in that the fall play for the Greenfield-Central High School drama troupe will likely involve a death ... or two.
"You are correct," says Coy Walden, the director of the play that's bringing the drama team back to regional competition one month from now and to the stage for the general audience this weekend.
Like the professional theater world, the lights were lowered on high school plays and musicals for much of the pandemic, beginning in the spring of 2019. Slowly but surely, the curtains are rising for school drama teams once again.
At Greenfield-Central, it means a show that's not just meant for parents, friends and fans in general.
"Any Body For Tea" will be performed for judges from the Indiana Thespians — an affiliate of the Educational Theatre Association — Nov. 20. But the students who are running the show say it doesn't necessarily mean they see it as a competition, the same way a school athlete might.
"It's pretty friendly," says Lexi Torrez, the play's assistant director. "We don't really have a rival. We don't have a specific competing school. Everyone is there almost like networking. Of course, you get very excited when your school succeeds, but there's not really a celebration of other schools' failures."
Theater is a family, particularly at Greenfield-Central, where in the Fall, the students are in charge of everything, from directing, to sets, to costumes, to acting.
It's a family that Walden and Torrez joined early, with Walden being a veteran of the Hancock County Children's Theater that features fourth through eighth graders putting on their own show each summer.
"It's the fact that it's something new every time," Walden said. "With something like sports, it just seemed like I was doing something over and over and over — I was doing swimming, so it was swimming laps over and over. With theater, its a whole new experience with every show you're doing, and new challenges and new exciting things you get to do for each show."
Torrez also had a sports background, but she was looking for something different when her family came to Greenfield from out of state.
"My parents chose this school because it has very high ratings for extracurriculars," Torrez said. "I came to a call-out meeting out of interest ... like a random thing I could do. There's an intrinsic quality of community that just doesn't exist in other sports and extracurriculars. It's a cliche, but everyone is legitimately a family in theater. And you can't get away from it once you get here."
The student-duo also takes pride in taking charge of the production. Though overseen by GCHS drama director Carolyn Voigt, student plays are a hands on operation.
"When we went to regionals my freshman year, our show was the only student-directed show in the competition," Torrez said. "The judges found that extremely impressive, and I really think its a strong suit of the upperclassmen in our program that they can take on the job, and that Mrs. Voigt believes in us — that we have the ability to lead something like this on our own."
Before their competition appearance, you can see "Any Body For Tea" from the Greenfield-Central Drama department this weekend.
Performances are at the Greenfield-Central High School auditorium 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are available at GCDrama.org.