Rebeccalynn Pettey, who plays Barker in Crater High School's original production of “Media Circus,” rehearses Wednesday after school. Mail Tribune / Julia Moore - Julia Moore

A real 'Media Circus'

When Kaylee Prislac heard a cellphone ring tone go off during a play she was performing at Crater High School last weekend, she wasn't angry.

In fact, her cast-mates in the performance had encouraged the audience to leave them on, to add another element to an original, technology-driven play the school is producing.

"We try to use technology in a unique way," said Prislac, 17, who acts as Bloom in Crater Drama's performance of "Media Circus," which runs tonight and Saturday at Crater's Performing Arts Center.

"There's a lot of breaking of the fourth wall," she said.

The play, which students described as modern and interactive, transports audiences to a circus overtaken by technology — a place where LOLCats and other Internet memes are projected behind dozens of lively, colorful circus performers.

"There's a lot of lingo in the play that our generation will understand," said Reyanna Blank, a senior at Crater who acts as stage manager for the cast of more than 50 actors. "We really interact with the crowd."

The script was written specifically for Crater students by an alumnus of the high school, Jared Goode, who set out to write something that captured the role of technology in the lives of young people.

After graduating from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas with a master's degree in screenwriting in May, Goode came to a small group of Crater students this fall with a partial script, gathering feedback to finish the play.

Having lived in Los Angeles and having interned on the reality TV show "The Real World," Goode said he was able to use his own experiences with technology to develop the extravagant world that "Media Circus" takes place in.

The play tells the story of a young man who enlists the help of a sound archivist and a reality television star to heal his dying mother.

Goode, who is directing the show with help from Crater drama director Matthew Reynolds, describes the performance as Cirque du Soleil meets "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

A 1999 graduate of Crater, Goode said the play is much different than any performances he was in while attending the school.

"We didn't have a real drama class then, and we definitely didn't have the performing arts center they have now," said Goode, now 31, who remembers acting in a play that premiered in the school's cafeteria.

The school's theater, built in 2003, seats 500 and offers numerous entries to the stage for actors, which comb the crowd during scenes in the current production.

Goode said he was able to adapt the script to the students and location, adding numerous roles to accommodate the large number of students who auditioned.

"We really got to showcase the talents of these kids," he said.

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or

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