Wesley flashes back for ’80s prom performance

March 31, 2010

by Patricia Malek

The Wesley Foundation presented “The Awesome ’80s Prom,” an interactive play in which the audience decided which of the stereotypical high school characters became prom king and queen, to approximately 100 audience members Friday at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Becky Clark, associate director of the Wesley Foundation, said the performance was part of the foundation’s efforts to raise funds for mission trips to Haiti, Cambodia and China this summer.

Audience members were welcomed to the performance as if they were attending a real prom, and performers remained in character throughout the evening as they mingled, gossiped and danced with prom guests, participated in a Rubik’s Cube contest and coerced audience members to vote for their favorite candidate.

“It wasn’t what I expected,” said Cassidy Carson, a senior journalism major. “I danced to pretty much every song.”

The jock, the nerd, the brain, the cheerleading beauty, the misfit and the delinquent all attended this prom. At times, the performers were so consistent that it became unclear who was performing and who was not. For example, it was unclear whether the scruffily-dressed man who was cleaning his toenails with his keys was a character or an ill-mannered audience member.

“I liked how they stayed in character the whole time,” said Abbie Mitchell, a senior professional aviation major.

Even the principal of the school was an exaggeration of the over-controlling disciplinarian, dispensing referrals to both audience members and cast.

Class nerd Karen Kowalski, played by Lauren Hoffman, a freshman general studies major, wore braces with straps that wrapped around her face offered to do audience member’s homework to earn their vote.

Blake Williams, played by Kevin Perkins, a senior communication design major, said he drove a sports car and then__ invited some audience members to attend his party at the Holiday Inn after the prom in exchange for their vote.

Whitley Whittaker, played by Dani Hoffpauer, a junior speech major, strutted around the tables in a red sequined dress, one hand held in the air as if waiting for someone to kiss it.
Cheerleader Whittaker said, “A vote for me is a vote for the person you wish you could be.”

Michael Jay, played by James Hastings, a sophomore professional aviation major, was the Republican class president who loved to quote President Ronald Reagan and danced with more energy and with more people than any other character.

Melissa Martin, played by Rebecca Benton, a graduate in speech pathology, was the power-hungry head of the prom committee who fought over whose acting skills were superior with Denise Harrington, played by Laura Sandifer, a junior speech major.

“It’s always fun to act silly with people and be someone else,” Sandifer said.

Several audience members said they purchased the tickets to “The Awesome ’80s Prom” because they supported the worthy cause they represented but were pleasantly surprised at what a good time they had at the performance.

“It was a trip down memory lane,” Marcie Wright, a Trinity United Methodist Church member said. “A lot of fun for a great cause.”