From left, Storm Whitaker, Josh England, and Dylan Neate practice for their performance in “Sitting in a Tree.” (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
From left, Storm Whitaker, Josh England, and Dylan Neate practice for their performance in “Sitting in a Tree.” (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – The Lincolnview Theatre will be performing their rendition of “Sitting in a Tree” over the course of the next two weekends.

Returning to the stage are Lancer seniors Josh England, Storm Whitaker, and Dylan Neate, who all have lead roles in this play.

“Sitting in a Tree” follows the character of John, played by Neate, and his life as well as that of his best friend Archie, played by England, and his girlfriend Sara, played by Whitaker. It’s a “through the ages” story with both its fair share of comedy and drama.

England noted that what he has enjoyed about being in this particular play is that his character is a bit more excessive than roles he’s played before.

“I love being over the top,” said England noting that Archie fits that characteristic. “I love being crazy.”

England noted that he started his theatre career in fifth grade with “Sitting in the Tree.”

Whitaker’s character, Sara, is pregnant in the play, which Whitaker notes allows her to be angry, something she enjoys about the play. Whitaker has been performing in theatre since she was a freshman and has enjoyed the bond she has made with other cast and crew members.

“I enjoy being a family with everyone and being up on stage acting,” said Whitaker.

Neate, who first started performing in theatre in third grade, has also performed in “Sitting in a Tree” before as well.

“In fifth grade year, we did ‘Sitting in a Tree’ and I was actually the younger character of John,” said Neate. “So I like coming back and playing the older John.”

“I like being a different person,” he added. “Every time I do a different show it’s different people.”

All three actors agreed that audiences will enjoy one scene in particular, what they refereed to as, “the fight scene.”

“The fight scene is basically where nothing seems to be going right,” said Neate. “Everything that could go wrong, goes wrong. So that’s the entire problem with that scene. No matter what we’re doing, no matter if it’s the simplest task, it will just somehow go array.”

The play will be held at the Van Wert Civic Theatre, a location that Lincolnview has been able to use for around five years. Previously plays were performed at the Marsh Foundation, but director Chad Kraner noted that using the Civic Theatre has provided a more intimate setting, something the actors agreed they also like.

“[The Civic Theatre] seats 170 versus 540, so you get much more intimacy out of it as far as being able to see facial expressions and not having to worry about microphones,” said Kraner. “Not only that, but because it only seats 170, we can do two weekends.”

Having the show spread over two weekends allows for the actors to get more out of the hard work and effort they put into learning their lines and actions.

“Having it over two weekends means you get to improve,” said Whitaker. “You get all the comments back from the first week and then we go to the next week more relaxed and more confident in the second weekend.”

“I feel like the crowd is there and you can feed off of their laughs,” said England of performing at the Civic Theatre.

The performers still use the Marsh Foundation for rehearsals.

One thing that all three performers agreed is difficult about theatre is memorizing the lines and putting all the time in to perfecting the part. They have been hard at work since the fair trying to get their parts down.

“You are non-stop rehearsing even if you’re just walking down the hall at school,” said Neate. “You’re never not thinking about theatre.”

“I was getting made fun of in study hall and Lancer Time for saying my lines out loud,” laughed Whitaker.

“I was thinking of them so much one night, I was sleep walking talking about it,” added England.

The trio classified “Sitting in a Tree” as a drama with funny moments that is sure to please the crowd.

“As Storm says, ‘You will laugh and cry at the same time,’” said England.

The Lincolnview Theatre will present “Sitting in a Tree” on Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The show will be back for a second time the following weekend on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $6 for students and $8 for adults and are available by calling the school at 419-968-2214 ext. 3242, emailing lincolnviewdrama@gmail.com or by purchasing from cast members.