NHS theater to present ‘Afraid of the Dark’

Naugatuck High School senior Arshil Chowdhury, left, and sophomore Sydney Lauer rehearse lines from the theater club’s upcoming production of ‘Afraid of the Dark’ on Monday. The club will present the play on Friday and Saturday. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Members of the Naugatuck High School theater club will tackle an age-old fear with humor.

The club will present “Afraid of the Dark” this weekend, with showings at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the school’s auditorium. Tickets for the show are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

“It’s a mystery-comedy. It’s a vehicle for a lot of laughs and a lot of humor,” said NHS teacher John Carino, who is directing the play with fellow teacher Diane Vagnini.

Carino said the club looked at a lot of scripts, but “Afraid of the Dark” really stuck out.

“As soon as we found this one we knew this is what we wanted to go with and we wanted to get started,” Carino said. “We had a lot of energetic, silly kids, so it felt appropriate to give them a chance to shine in this.”

The play follows the characters of Chauncey and Lillums Stone, who are newlyweds, on their honeymoon at Stone Mansion, an isolated and supposedly unoccupied country estate.

“I think everyone has been putting in a lot of effort and it really shows throughout the practices,” said senior Arshil Chowdhury, who plays Chauncey Stone.

Carino said on Monday the cast and crew have been very busy getting ready for the show.

“We just did a full run-through on Saturday and everybody did very well. So I think everybody is ready to go,” Carino said.

This is the second play the school has produced since it renovated the auditorium as part of an $81 million renovate-to-new project.

Chowdhury was happy to have such a nice, new auditorium for his first time on stage.

“It’s exhilarating. I’ve never been in a production before, but ever since a kid I always wanted to act,” Chowdhury said. “I get to leave a legacy at the high school and hopefully inspire the rest of the cast to do great things in the future.”

Although she never saw the old auditorium, sophomore Sydney Lauer, who plays Lillums Stone, echoed Chowdhury’s sentiments.

“It’s very fancy and I am glad we have it,” Lauer said.

In addition to the auditorium, the school has added theater classes, which teach acting and playwriting, to the curriculum, Carino said.

“I believe that the Board of Education and central office’s dedication to having an intact theater program is shown because we have theater classes now. I teach theater classes in tandem with the theatrical productions we do. So that shows a long-term commitment into building this into something large,” Carino said.

Carino said the next production will be plays written by students.

Carino, Chowdhury, and Lauer encouraged people who want a good laugh to come out and see “Afraid of the Dark.”

“If they want to laugh. If they want a good time. If they want to see an energetic cast who is really committed to what they’ve done, this is the play for them,” Carino said.