Eating people, yelling at friends:

CG-Belgium High School play has actors reveling in unique roles in ‘The Witch’s Princess’

CEDAR GROVE-BELGIUM High School will perform “The Witch’s Princess” at 7 p.m. in the middle school auditorium on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $5. The cast includes Jocelyn Wieberdink, McKenna Bretz, Lila Weyker, Maria Hernandez, Jenna Plier, Maya Claerbaut, Zoe Vance Poropat, Ryan Fleuchaus, Logan Depies, Jenna Emperley, Izzy Kern, Dominic Sanfelippo, Ethan Beardsley, Danika Schoeder, Hannah Navis, Layla Schultz, Aspen Jens, Chloe Burns, Alex Bernaz, Sammy Berndt, Jesse Schmidt, Alex Assman, Kezra Ledbeter, Alan Celedon, Jaci Rose, Caitlyn Schuknecht, Iris Goff and Emma Heisler. The crew includes Martha Ruona, Billie Klemm, Quinn Schmidt, Zoey Weiland, Allison Jaworski, Ayden Kaufert, Gracie Gillette, Seba Al Tawfiq and Nevaeh Burdge. The directors are Dave Claerbaut, a veteran of theater productions, and Kim Gall, a Cedar Grove-Belgium High School alumna who is making her directorial debut. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Cedar Grove-Belgium High School senior McKenna Bretz said she doesn’t usually scream at her friend Jocelyn Wieberdink.

That, Bretz said, is one reason it’s so fun to transform into someone else on stage.

“It’s really fun seeing what you can do with your character,” she said.

The two acting veterans say their companionship off stage helps them navigate lead parts in “The Witch’s Princess” to be performed Friday and Saturday at the Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School auditorium.

The pair, decked out in garb from medieval times at Monday’s dress rehearsal, enjoy their large roles.

“You have so many interactions with other characters,” Bretz said.

The plot has Wieberdink, who plays Princess Alessandra, slated to marry the knight who can kill the evil bog witch. But  Alessandra is “sick and tired of being told what to do” by her father the king.

She drags her friend Gabriella, played by Bretz, along on a mission to kill the bog witch herself.

“Unwillingly, she comes along with me,” Wieberdink said.

Many of cast members’ characters match their own personalities, she said, except for that shouting part.

“I’m not usually able to walk up to her and scream at her,” Bretz said.

“It’s almost kind of scary,” Wieberdink said.

Having lead roles that come with more lines is just part of the gig.

“Being seniors, we have a lot of responsibility to make sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Bretz said.

Senior Logan Depies plays King Eldegaarde, who doesn’t stand for his daughter sneaking off and sends knights after her.

This is a more serious role to which he is accustomed, but he is still having fun.

“I like to make people laugh,” he said. “Some lines I get to be more goofy. Some lines are inside jokes.”

He also loves his king’s costume. The play’s prop department sometimes makes its own garments for productions or orders them online and modifies them as needed.

Depies knows on-stage and backstage roles. He was a member of the crew in past productions. Props that get moved inadvertently lead to actors borrowing their fellow performers’ props, and the situation can cascade, he said.

“I almost lost my temper,” he said. “‘Stop moving the props.’”

For Depies, being part of the fall play allows him to spend time with friends and fill a gap between cross country in fall and track and field in spring.

“It’s a really good way to stay social and a good thing to do in between sports,” he said.

Senior Lila Weyker gets a kick out of playing Grendel’s mother.

“I’m supposed to be super scary and eat people,” she said, adding her son in the play is the real monster.

“I’m like a helicopter mom. Every time someone needs something I have it in my bag,” Weyker said.

Having fun on stage helps her build confidence, she said.

“I know a lot of people enjoy watching the play so it’s not as difficult to be stupid,” she said.

The play is at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $5.

Veteran Dave Claerbaut is one of the directors and is joined by rookie Kim Gall,  a 2015 Cedar Grove-Belgium High grad who acted in high school plays and now teaches special education at the school.

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