The quirky sci-fi comedy Little Shop of Horrors will be performed by North Lincoln High School students starting Thursday.
The play, by Ken Hill, tells the story of a floral shop owner who gives up on his failing business in the impoverished town of Skid Row until his young male employee creates a new plant breed — one that grows to unprecedented size by feeding on blood and people.
“Who doesn’t want to see a hungry plant eat humans?” North Lincoln High School senior Krys Paschen said.
However, in addition to a seemingly disturbing storyline, the play also incorporates humor to portray the sweet budding romance between floral shop co-workers Seymour Krelborn and Audrey.
While she’s a troubled young girl stuck in an unhealthy, abusive relationship with her motorcycle-riding boyfriend, Orin Scrivello, she continues to dream of a better life and romance with Seymour.
Throughout the course of the play, a group of melodious, dancing women known as the Urchins take part in choreographed moves across the stage, singing about the story’s opposing themes of love and horror, often urging Audrey to break it off with Orin and pursue her plant-growing crush.
While the original story contains just three Urchins, whom NLHS Drama Director Joanna Underwood likened to the legendary musical group The Supremes, she doubled the group to six.
For Paschen, 17, who plays the part of Mr. Mushnik, the negative old shop owner he described as a “pretty grumpy” money-lover, the role is just one of many characters he’s played throughout his years in the North Lincoln Drama Club.
He previously took the stage in the school’s fall production of Almost, Maine and last year’s spring musical, Oklahoma.
“I like being someone who’s completely different from myself,” Paschen said, “and step outside my comfort zone.”
While his future plans don’t include acting as a career, he said he’d be attending Appalachian State University in the fall to pursue a teaching degree.
Throughout the play, Paschen’s character turns greedy after watching the unique plant bring in fame and fortune for Seymour and the shop.
He soon wants to adopt the botanist he once pulled from an area orphanage as a boy, ensuring him a future of increased sales and continued wealth.
Knights senior Joey Nuhfer plays the part of Seymour the geeky shop worker, whose infatuation with Audrey is more than evident after he names the plant Audrey II.
His desire for her and distaste for Orin only grows more prominent as the story progresses.
Senior Gracie Lowman described Audrey as a “floozy” woman who tries to make the most of her circumstances, dreaming of marrying Seymour and shacking up in a small house outside of town, complete with a “large, 12-inch television,” she tells the audience through song.
While she falls for her co-worker early on in the play, she continues to date Orin, whose fate, like most of the play’s characters, proves tragic.
Anna Crosby, who directed the play under Underwood, felt certain the play would entertain all who attend one of the four performances put on this month by the more than 50-member cast.
“Even though it’s morbid,” the teen said, “it’s still sweet and heartwarming.”
Underwood said she chose the story because of her students’ talent.
“I had the kids who were perfect for the roles,” she said.
The drama teacher was most excited about being able to use Catawba College’s plant props for the set, which they built for their own production of Little Shop of Horrors in November.
The larger-than-life object, made of papier-mâché, allows a person to operate it from within, including moving the plant’s mouth and tentacles.
Her husband Neil Underwood, NLHS director of bands, will lead a group of band students in playing live throughout the musical.
Performances will be 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the school’s auditorium on Lee Lawing Road in Lincolnton.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students, seniors and Lincoln County School employees.
For more information, call (704) 736-1969.