Heidelberg senior Erin Crenshaw wrote the script for "Triage," which is being directed by senior Dakota Thorn.
Performances are at 8 p.m. today and Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday.
Set in a nursing home, the play explores the relationships between the younger aides and residents. It features 12 Heidelberg students. A discussion is to follow Friday's show.
Thorn, who has appeared in many Heidelberg productions, said directing has taught her how to work with a writer to edit the script. Because she and Marisha Sullivan had to share stage time, Thorn had to manage her time more efficiently.
"I'm learning how to be a better actor, and I'm taking on a bigger leadership role with my friends," Thorn added.
By definition, triage describes a medical process in which patients are assessed to determine the seriousness of their conditions and decide who needs the most urgent treatment. Triage is especially valuable when a facility is understaffed.
The action for "Triage" is set in a nursing home operating on a limited budget with staff who are caring but overworked and underpaid.
Katelyn Hough portrays Sadie, a long-term employee who has become apathetic and cynical. She is always bending the rules, believing no one has the nerve to fire her. When the supervisor warns her to watch her language around the patients, Sadie is openly insulting. No one is spared.
Maddie Dames as Nurse Ivy works hard to keep the aides on task and make the residents comfortable. When her shift ends, she must go to her other job as mother of two demanding children who do not seem to appreciate her efforts to support them.
Just when the employees think they have adapted to their rules and responsibilities, the owner announces the company is bankrupt and is being bought by another firm. Pay is to be cut, the protocols are to be rewritten and the facility is to be renamed.
The residents have various physical and emotional afflictions. Some are disabled but determined to make the best of it. Others are physically healthy but they live in the past. One woman waits for her (deceased) husband to come and see her. The people in the beds and wheelchairs would like to be what they once were. Like the staff, the patients have adopted different ways of coping with their current reality.
Eight of the actors take on dual roles to play characters of contrasting ages, but they rely on speech and gestures, rather than on make-up or wigs, for the portrayals.
The director's notes explain that this strategy was chosen to show how the generation gap is much smaller than one might think. All the characters face challenges that have less to do with age than with humanity.
Emma Markley gives voice to the talking boom box that offers comic relief by harassing the workers in the employee break room. The cast also includes Elle Dutton, Sia DuFour, Helen Hedrick, Tim Borham, Eric Gobel, Jordan Keller, Amanda Chaney, Adam Hoover, Michelle Chouloute, Sean Hill, Brandon Herrmann and Theran Carroll.
Adult content and language makes this show unsuitable for young children.