UNI student debuts as CFHS director of ‘Around the World in 80 Days’

This upcoming weekend, March 2 and 3, the drama department will be performing their spring play, “Around the World in 80 Days.”

The play takes the audience on the journey of Phileas Fogg, played by senior Elijah White, and his ventures as he attempts to prove that it is possible to travel the world in 80 days.

Directed by Alan Malone, who has directed plays at UNI along with previously directing the Hawkeye Community College drama club, “Around the World in 80 Days” takes the audience on the journey of the timeless story, adding a comical twist to connect with modern audiences.

“I looked at it as a collective take on the Jules Verne novel, which is from the 1800s, and set it in the ’80s, so all the music is from the ’80s: the dress is from the ’80s, some of the jokes are there. Hopefully, students and younger kids who come watch the show will get a kick out of it, but then, hopefully, parents will sort of recognize the music and will get a kick out of it too,” Malone said.

Malone has had many experiences directing shows, but this is his debut as a director at Cedar Falls High School.

“It has been a very different experience as a director because there are other elements that I am responsible for that I have not had to work with before. There are a lot of different hats when you are directing at a high school compared to the last show I directed at UNI,” Malone said.

While he spends time directing shows he works part time as a boarder at the Mutt Hut all while balancing classes on top of the already demanding play schedule.

“Right now I am completing my degree at UNI in theater performance, and my goal is to go on and get my MFA in directing,” he said. “In 2011-2015, I was the director of the drama club at Hawkeye Community College, and I would direct two shows a year. That is what really made me realize I enjoyed directing and  made me want to go back to school.”

Though directing at the high school level is new for Malone, acting at the high school level is a new experience that many share going into this show.

Sophomore Jack Sticheter said, “I could not do play last semester due to health, and had to focus on school. I was a little nervous coming into it, but a plus side was really just being accepted.”

For many it is a new experience, but for seniors it is a final performance before the curtain closes on their high school acting careers.

“I don’t even want to think about it,” senior Katie Kalver said.

Student tickets for the show are $4 and adults $5. The play will be Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at 7:30.

Put simply by seniors Arlo Hettle, Aidan Flack and Katie Klaver:

“You will laugh. You will cry. You will smile. You won’t even want to die.”

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