Drama Club performs original play pertaining to MSMS students

Seniors Dyllon Martin and Karlin Campbell perform in “Flyover.”

Aly Griffitt, Staff Writer

The season of theater productions is upon us, and that requires many drama classes to obtain production rights before they can begin production in schools. Many high school drama teachers yearn to say they have created an original production, but many do not achieve this. On Oct. 23 and Oct. 26, the MSMS Drama Club performed club sponsor Thomas Easterling’s original play, “Flyover.”

Easterling was not the only major role in production; it was student-led and organized. Kylie Reed, senior producer and director, worked with Ava Noe, junior director, along with the rest of the cast which was thanked for its dedication and arduous work from August to October.

Junior Ava Wilson said the production was extremely interesting and was a new experience for her.

“Despite having been in similar positions in the past, through ‘Flyover’ I have gained new experiences that I never would have in shows that I have worked on in the past,” Wilson said. “I am very thankful for the cast and everybody that worked long hours on this show to make it what it was.”

Easterling said the name of the play had a specific meaning. He said Mississippi is a flyover state, one you might pass over in a plane as you travel from the East Coast to the West Coast. There is seemingly no importance to the state, he said, and as you look down all you might see are waves of tall grass.

Easterling said the production is based on students’ internal struggle with deciding to stay in Mississippi or leave. In the play, the audience follows Shelby (Senior Jazmine Henry), a distinguished journalist, as she struggles to decide whether to stay in Mississippi and take over the family farm or go to New York to find a promising life.

“The play offers an allegory for the way that brain drain affects the state. Mississippi has plenty to offer young people in terms of employment and higher education,” Easterling said. “However, it could also make itself a much, much better place — a place that would attract and retain talent — if it would just get out of its own way.”

Shelby is faced with predicaments that challenge her heart — a past love is rekindled with Beau (Senior Benjamin Tabor) — but at the same time, she wants to work in big cities where she will earn a name. However, she knows the small town in which she resides will give her the same love and admiration. The play ends with no resolution; it is open-ended to allow viewers to interpret the ending to their desire.

Junior Iris Xue said she enjoyed the message the play conveyed and found the play quite enjoyable.

“I really enjoyed ‘Flyover’ for its exploration of the theme of bright individuals leaving Mississippi. It is a theme that is not covered a lot in the media,” Xue said. “Still, I feel that MSMS students can significantly relate to the play. ‘Flyover’ accurately portrays the emotions of people who leave their hometown and must balance a successful career with the people they leave behind.”

Easterling asks students every year if they wish to stay in Mississippi for college, and every year the majority always express an urge to leave. He said “Flyover” is an attempt to make them think about their decision, view the good and see why some people do not want to leave Mississippi. He said the play attempts to get those students to look at living in Mississippi from a different angle.