Popular high school teacher to have cameo in TYT production
When the Tecumseh Youth Theatre cast of “Our Town” takes the Tecumseh Center for the Arts stage on Friday, Nov. 16, Saturday, Nov. 17, and Sunday, Nov. 18, many in the audience will find a familiar face helping them out. Popular Tecumseh High School math teacher, Carl Novak, agreed to do a cameo, playing Professor Willard, who is charged with explaining the town’s history during a few minutes of stage time.
Novak said he received a call awhile back from Sutton School’s music teacher, Joyce Lammers, asking if he would take on the cameo role.
“I thought about it for a couple of days and thought it might be interesting,” Novak said. “I’ve never been in a play in my life.” He has, however, been in front of groups before. In addition to his math classes, he’s encountered public situations as a coach of girls’ basketball and girls’ softball teams, both at the junior varsity level.
“It looked like several of the kids who would be in the show are, or have been, in my classes,” Novak said. “I have juniors and seniors in my classroom, and I’ve enjoyed watching some of them in plays over the years. I’ve seen them sing in musicals and also act in dramatic plays. There’s a lot of talent in our play.”
Novak said when he asked the students earlier what play they were doing and they told him it was Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” he said he told them, “That’s a classic,” and that he had read the play and knew the story reasonably well.
Novak said Brian Gilbey plays the role of the stage manager/narrator, telling the story of “Our Town,” and calls in Professor Willard to give the town’s background.
“My character goes beyond what he would need to, way further in-depth than most people would care to know,” he said. “There’s plenty of humor in the play, and even though it’s a dramatic play, some of the students will be singing and some will play musical instruments.”
Novak said he has been rehearsing all through Act I of the play, the portion where his cameo role comes in. He said Mark Hyre has been an excellent director. “He gives so many good ideas on how to make a character come to life and I’ve been real happy with the direction he’s been giving.”
He recounted how some of the play’s main characters will be played by Wyatt Anderson, Jillian Travis, Stacia Serafin, and Allison Eubanks, to name a few.
“They have major roles, and I have watched many of them perform throughout their high school careers,” said Novak. “They’ve done an excellent job and are very talented as a group.” He said some of the students have had a lot of lines to memorize and have had to work hard.
“I don’t have that many and I’m just on for two or three minutes,” Novak said. “They’ve done a real nice job. This is a well-written play and I’m really enjoying the experience.”
Tickets for the play are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and youths, available at the TCA, 423.6617, www.thetca.org. for Friday and Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. performances and Sunday’s 3 p.m. performance.