PORT ALLEGANY — The Port Allegany drama club presented its annual fall play, “Breaking The News,” last week, starring Mia Ambuski as Olivia Saint-John. More than 100 people turned out over the course of two days. Two dozen Port Allegany students in a wide range of grade levels from eighth to 12th participated in the two hour long satirical comedy depicting the farcical and lighthearted antics of two modern, rival high school newspapers, the Presley High School “Beacon” and “Intelligencer.”
The show follows Olivia Saint-John as she grows bored of her superficial and vain work environment, ineffectual efforts to produce meaningful content and the overwhelming and acute idiocy of her co-workers. The plot revolves around her discovering the student body president has been embezzling money from the school’s yearly bobblehead fundraiser. This revelation leads her down a rabbithole of corruption and fraud that eventually leads her to uncover the school’s PTA has been stealing money from the teacher’s retirement plan in order to buy substantial amounts of Sprite soft drinks and associated Sprite products. Her will to report these findings is consistently driven by her hatred for the “Beacon,” of which’s goals are to slander Saint-John, usurp the student body president, (whom they are certain smells like brimstone and therefore must be the devil incarnate), and protect the rights of the gluten-free children at the school.
“The Beacon” is led by Cade O’Connor, played by Ayden Russell. He is a handsome, intelligent and charismatic news anchor with a tendency of wearing tin-foil hats and promoting revolutionary action against the school administration through violent — yet lovable — rants that tend put him at the brink of lunacy. He is accompanied by his naive co-star Alyssa Montgomery, played by Chloe Cramer, a sheltered girl with an affinity for overexplaining things to a startling degree, a love for making historical references where they are not welcome and a borderline obsession with O’Connor. In the second act, “The Beacon” is switched to the protagonists of the show, as Saint-John sees the error of her ways in discovering that the Student-Body President really was corrupt all along, and proceeded to switch to the staff at the “The Beacon” from “The Intelligencer.”
Overall, “Breaking The News” is witty and bombastic. Anyone who did not attend to pay witness to the impressive gymnastics, dangerously loud screaming and dated references to Beyoncé music sorely missed out on a night of seemingly relentless laughter.
Penny Amacher, has directed the fall production for the past six years.
“This years fall play, ‘Breaking The News,’ was just as successful as any of our fall plays can hopefully be. I am always impressed by the students’ enthusiasm and willingness to work hard and we will all certainly look forward to putting on another great show next year,” Amacher said.