30 Reasons Not To Be In A Play

Roseville High School Theatre Company’s Fall Play and Jennifer Dithridge-Saigeon’s Directorial Debut at Roseville


Roseville High School’s Theatre Company chose to produce Alan Haehnel’s 30 Reasons Not To Be In A Play for their fall production. This is the first show directed by Roseville’s new dramatic arts teacher, as well as one of the first shows featuring a new generation of student actors.

Prior to opening night, we were very excited and didn’t know what to expect.

To anyone who has seen previous productions put on in the Patti Baker Theater, expect to see fresh faces that bring their own personalities to the stage. With the clean slate that Jennifer Saigeon offers the program, this performance feels new and unfamiliar – but this performance will make you want to know more.

The cast had incredible chemistry that could easily be seen on stage. Experienced actors who have been in the program in previous years have taken the younger cast members under their wings and helped them grow into characters that the audience can especially enjoy. Their exuberant energy made for a hilarious show – in which the costumes and set pieces mattered a lot less than the story and feelings conveyed by the actors.


Some of the more extreme lines help to exaggerate the irony of putting on a play about why not to put on a play. There were quite a few scenes which had us gasping and wondering, “…are they allowed to say that?”

The actors did not hold back; the theater was constantly filled with their cries of anguish and squeals of joy. The cast did well to avoid simply reciting lines; instead, one could see them play with their character on stage, bringing their roles to life before our eyes (they did this especially well considering the plethora of characters they each had to play). Their faces were expressive to the extent that one could practically feel their excitement or despair at a glance.

In fact, these actors never broke character, even when the scene suddenly froze – it was as if they themselves were put on pause along with the scene. Even those actors who were in the backgrounds of scenes brought their stage-presence out through their miming of certain actions – the rise of an eyebrow, flick of the hand – every movement was with intention and the full force of their character, which added to the overall experience. There was never a stagnant character – there was always something to make you laugh.

The extremely swift scene changes were a difficult feat to pull off – but they executed the transitions well with few slip-ups and in a professional manner. To maneuver the quick-changes of costume, resetting of props and mental preparation of getting into an entirely new character – in complete darkness – between each of the 30 scenes in the production was extremely impressive; it made us appreciate the hard work and dedication the director and cast put into this project.

The casts’ direct addressing of the audience really made us feel included, as if we were being told a series of stories and memories. The production did not just stay up on the stage; the cast utilized the aisles to expand their immersive storytelling experience. This, however, might be improved on in the future – in the beginning, cast members on either side of the aisle would give their line, making the audience have to turn their head quickly and repeatedly to catch up with the dialogue.


Even with this whiplash, the interaction with the characters grabbed the attention of those of us in the audience.

As someone who has been a part of previous performances here at Roseville High School, one can see the effect that the newness and unfamiliar state of the program has on the outcome of the show. There is no grand set, no iconic costumes or characters – which we think was intentional; the play itself was not one demanding of these things, which allowed not only for easier scene changes, but to really showcase the new talent here at Roseville High School’s Theatre Program.

In the years to come, it is sure that this new program will grow and develop into something amazing. Whereas in the past, shows have been dominated by smaller casts mainly of upperclassmen, this production featured many new faces and a variety in class grades. This is instrumental in ensuring the continued success of the program.

Senior Claudia Howenstein was marvelous as she displayed her talent through various characters, bringing a veracity in particular to the character of a hypocritical aunt to a poor young girl. This is her first show with Saigeon, but not at Roseville High. She is very excited to see what comes of the program in her last year.

Also new to this theatre program is freshman Emma Watson. This, however, is not her first dramatic experience, so she brings her vivacious stage presence to Roseville.w was high-energy and extremely fast-paced. It kept our attention and for being the first of many shows with this director and new generation of students, it reveals potential for developing a new drama culture here at Roseville and we cannot wait to see what this young cast will bring in the coming years.