Derek Rogers admits he'll be a little nervous when the curtain opens on his school's production of Get Smart on Friday night.
Rogers will play the lead role of Maxwell Smart in the play at Lake Zurich Middle School South. He expects the nervousness to disappear quickly.
"After you do the first scene, you just get this adrenaline high," said Rogers. Plus, Rogers said he always has wanted to have the lead role in a school play, and he finally has the opportunity — even if that means being in nearly all the scenes and having to learn more lines. "This is harder, but it's cool."
Middle School South will present Get Smart at 7 p.m. March 16 and at 2 p.m. March 17. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $10 for adults and $8 for students.
Paul Stark provided this synopsis of the play: "Maxwell Smart, agent 86, is off on another of his adventures. He is looking after a new project from Professor Dante, the Inthermo. But now the Scandinavian princess is on her way to Washington, D.C., in the midst of a rash of local kidnappings of blondes. The princess is a blonde, too! What will Chief and CONTROL do? How can Smart guard everything? He gets a little help from the gorgeous 99, the sullen 44 and the faithful 13. It seems this slew of illegal activity is part of a bigger plan. Who might be behind it? Could it be Mr. Big, the evil mastermind of KAOS?!"
Director Kim Warren said she selected Get Smart because she wanted to present a comedy — and those fabulous 1960s costumes.
"I grew up with Get Smart on TV and just loved the quirkiness," said Warren.
Casting took place in December, with 28 students chosen for parts in the play. Another 22 students are members of the crew, and there are four student managers, Warren said. Rehearsals started in January and included the students watching episodes of Get Smart.
Students held their first full dress rehearsal on March 10.
"It's usually a very stressful day," said Warren. She added that crew members are in charge of running the microphones, sound and lighting.
"This week is the hardest," Warren said of the week leading up to the performances.
By opening night, though, "I've totally given it to them," said Warren, and the students know what they're supposed to do. "It's the ownership."
The young actors have definitely spent plenty of time preparing.
Seventh-grader Allie Mitchell said the cast started out reading through the lines in a classroom. By February, cast members had memorized their lines, she said.
"It takes a lot of time," said sixth-grader Mackenzie Brinn.
The students said it was interesting to learn about a different era.
"I didn't get the jokes at first," said Brinn. She added that the costumes are fun.
"It really encompasses the ’60s," said eighth-grader Emily Sandstedt.
"It was tough to learn it, but at the same time it was fun because it was a new thing to try," said Rogers. "It's different, but different in a good way."