October 20, 2021

‘Class of the Living Dead’ opens tonight in Homer

Playwright’s life as Homer English teacher comes to ‘life’?

Photo provided by Valerie Cleland

Senior Kaitlyn Clune (Ms. Nunn) is surrounded by her class of high school students who, despite her encouragement, just don’t get it. Or do they? From left, Taylynn Platt, Grace Wright, Nate Johnson, Callum Hush, Katelyn Vogel, Kaitlyn Manning.

William Allen taught English at Homer Central High School for more than 30 years, gaining an interesting perspective on the ever-changing culture of his students.

Now retired, Allen has become a successful playwright. One of his earliest efforts was his take on trying to get his students to enjoy reading wellknown and respected theatrical literature, often with predictable results. Thus sprang, “Class of the Living Dead.”

Homer High School’s Thespian Society brings to life the tale of hapless English teacher, Ms. Nunn, played by senior Kaitlyn Clune.

“It’s interesting being on the other side of the desks,” Clune said. “It certainly gives me a different perspective.”

The curtain goes up 7 p.m. today and Saturday. Admission is $6 at the door. Refreshments and fundraising memorabilia will also be available in the lobby.

Homer graduate Kim L. Hubbard directs the piece with assistance from Val Cleland, who knows a thing or two about what it’s like to be a teacher, having been one at Homer High for many years.

Members of the cast include Nate Johnson, playing against type as the smart-alecky, Shawn.

“I hope my parents don’t think this is the way I behave in school,” Johnson said. “I’d be grounded for life.”

Grace Wright provides considerable laughter as the hapless Tiffany-Ashleigh, whose name alone causes her angst. Her mother accidentally ran over her own boyfriend, “Gag Sal,” with the Dodge Ram, 4×4 1500 with the eco-buster V-8. Just who is Gag Sal and what happened to the truck is the stuff of legend.

Then, there is Cal, (Callum Hush), who knows a thing or two about this or that and offers up his advice at the most inopportune times. K.C., (Taylynn Platt), is another student that, by all outward appearances, is the classic church mouse that suddenly rises to the occasion.

Rounding out the front row of academics is Julia, (Katelyn Vogel), “that student” who by all appearances isn’t really paying attention, but is more on the ball than one thinks.

Oh, then there is the omnipresent voice of the inter-office liaison, (Kaitlyn Manning), who interrupts the flow of learning with constant inquiries of all things unrelated to education.

She can’t help it; it’s her job. In the final mix is the ghost of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Thornton Wilder (Walt Gustafson) “who just can’t take it anymore!”

What he can’t take is the constant butchering of his beloved play, “Our Town,” with accents that belong more to Tennessee Williams’ New Orleans than in Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire. Plus students snore whenever his name is mentioned.

Ultimately, a clash between teacher and spirit ensues over just what it means to teach and learn.