Theater-goers were transported to a world of evil-doers and mayhem during the Breckenridge High School Drama Department’s performance of “Villain School,” Friday, Nov. 19-Sunday, Nov. 21.
Written by Brian D. Taylor, the play centers around wicked students attending the Villains Institute for Learning Evil (VILE). The pupils are organized into five different schools, the Order of Marvels, the Order of Anarchy, the Order of Enchantment, the Order of Mayhem and the Misfits. When new student Frank Stein (Weslee Johanson) arrives, he challenges the status quo and even dabbles in a forbidden love affair with Heidi Jekyll (Brooklyn Baumhardt).
Stacy Diaz directed the play, assisted by Jolynn Werner. The set was constructed by Scott Wermerskirchen, and a host of students offered behind-the-scenes support to ensure the show ran smoothly.
Last year, the show wasn’t the same, Diaz said. The students were forced to perform in front of a camera, and it took away from the atmosphere of having a live audience to energize them.
“It was so nice just to simply open the doors and have people come in and see what the kids can do,” Diaz said.
Diaz, who has led the drama department since 2014, said she was proud of her students’ performances despite a host of obstacles this year, including a number of tech and cast members taking part in volleyball and other sports. Diaz said even though the volleyball season ran longer than usual because of the team’s success, the students were dedicated to the play, even learning lines on the way to away games.
By their Tuesday dress rehearsal, Diaz said the entire cast and crew had never been all together. But, the show came together for the three weekend performances.
“The kids came through with flying colors,” Diaz said.
The drama department extended a special thank you to Breckenridge High School custodial staff, Principal Craig Peterson, Superintendent Brad Strand, office secretaries Belinda Slettedahl and Adelle Heggem, district office secretaries Cathy Affield, and Tom Thielen of the media center.
“My students loved it when we picked out this play because they said, ‘Ooh, we get to all play bad guys,’” Diaz said.
And bad guys and girls they were. The Order of Marvels, a trio of evil geniuses, included Jekyll, Mal (Claire Aigner) and Beatrix (Sydney Baumhardt).
The Order of Anarchy, a collection of convicts, included Sharkey (Reed Werner), Pick (Adri Boesen) and Davy Backstabber (Ave Diaz). Hetty (Mariah Koltes), Netty (Khloe Wilkinson) and Betty (London Hoffert) were the witches in the Order of Enchantment.
The Order of Mayhem included monsters Sasquatch (Ethan Albertson), Werewolf (Chloe Martin) and Mummy (Riley Finkral). The Misfits included Quasimodo (Mark Wermerskirchen), Garbage (Sierra Stillwell) and Sandra (Maddie Moen).
Stein tries to join one of the orders on his first day of school, agitating Jekyll and her crew. Over the next few days, Stein tests into the Order of Marvels, but he isn’t feeling like himself — he can’t stop thinking about Jekyll. Stein pays a visit to the witches who discover his irritation with his fellow evil genius is love in disguise. Meanwhile, queen bee Jekyll develops a potion for the science fair that is supposed to make her more evil, but it backfires, turning her “good” for periods of time.
After an initial painful rejection, Stein and Jekyll begin to date, but she is giving him mixed signals. One moment she hates him and the next she loves him. The professors (Caytlin Bruns, Kennedy Schuler and Ivy Ovsak) and headmistress (Abby Johnson) discover Stein and Jekyll’s relationship, breaking one of the strictest rules of VILE: no love. The adults consult Jekyll’s mother and father, Marcella Jekyll (Miley Bruce) and Drake Jekyll (Ethan Lauritsen), who demand their daughter break off the relationship.
Stein consults the witches again about how he can win back Jekyll and earn her parents’ approval.
“The answer is clear. To win her parents’ affection, you must do something truly evil,” Gretty cautions.
Stein crafts a device that can supposedly destroy a building and eagerly shows it to Jekyll, who has her “good side” switched on. Stein’s device ends up striking down Quasimodo, and the gang races to revive him in the safety of Stein’s room as Jekyll runs off, disturbed.
At the science fair, convicts have stolen Jekyll’s journal, which has her notes on the potion. Thinking it is a winning concoction, they claim the potion as their own project, and the professors and headmistress take a drink.
Jekyll’s parents attend the science fair and are impressed by Stein’s contraption, though he is more concerned with Heidi after the previous night’s commotion. Soon, all of the adults have taken the potion, and they begin to doubt the very need for VILE.
Arguing and fighting breaks out between the students, and Jekyll takes matters into her own hands, using Stein’s contraption to blow up half of the school. In doing so, she returns back to normal, her “good side” eradicated. Even though she is once again acting like herself, she admits she has always been in love with Stein.
“I always loved you,” Jekyll said. “The potion worked. It was a high-performance performance enhancer. I didn’t make a mistake. The fact is, the potion never would have made me like you unless I was already capable of liking you.”