HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Butler Theatre Program is rehearsing for their latest play. Knowing the school will likely be closing in a few years isn’t shedding a gloomy light on the production, though. It’s a cause for an even greater determination.
It’s completely black inside Butler High School’s Auditorium. Then suddenly, and echoing voice over the sound system. “And three, two one, go.”
Then bright lights splash the stage in color. It explodes with high school student’s voices. “Come on Bob, get him!”
They’re high school friends bonded by the fact they are Butler Rebels.
They’re family because of why and how they’re on stage.
On that stage, they shed the outside that makes them Rebels and put on the facade of the Greasers and the Socs that centralize the play The Outsiders.
Emotions are high as the play requires, but there are also emotions that aren’t scripted underlying the phrases and monologues.
Senior Dwight Rogers has a key part in the production. Because he’s graduating it’s his last play.
“It hurts dramatically because I want a high school to come back to,” Rogers says.
Butler is set to close down in June 2016. It’s one of several rezoning changes the superintendent announced last week.
For Rogers, the Theatre Program is a place to come after school. “Because I don’t have anything else to do besides basketball,” Rogers says.
By coming often, acting grew into something he loves. “I want to have my options open for myself and maybe get higher in college one day.”
The program has a short life. That’s already been determined. It’s just a matter of exactly how long.
Program leader Kapil Melkote says that fact isn’t something that is hindering the production, rather it’s giving the kids and leaders a sense of encouragement.
“The kids are very invested in making sure they can put on the best possible product for the Huntsville community,” Melkote says, “And kind of show what was still possible at Butler before it was gone.”
Rogers says that sentiment is something the entire program agrees with. “We have to go out with a bang,” he says.
The play opens on January 23rd and runs until the 25th. The shows start at 7:30 in the school’s auditorium. Tickets can be bought at the door for $5 for students and $7 for adults.