On Feb. 28, the entire junior class of Vinalhaven High School participated in the first production of “Holy Cannoli!” written by class member Nate Wiley. A second showing was added after the first sold out. Last year’s play, “Oh Crepe!,” was Wiley’s first experience as a playwright.
This is the second year in a row that the class has presented original dinner theater.
The 13-page script followed private detective Wesley Moreau as he investigated the theft of a French pastry chef’s recipe. (Little did the chef know Moreau was the culprit.)
Last year’s “Oh Crepe!” was presented in the Vestry of the Union Church. No sets were used for such a short play in such a small space.
Wiley produced a 57-page script for “Holy Cannoli!” It took him about two weeks to write the script, after about a week and a half of planning with classmates Landon Morton and Brianna Conlan, and Island Institute Fellow Karen Burns.
“Holy Cannoli!” picks up where “Oh Crepe!” left off, seeing Moreau released from prison and following him to Venice where he is hired to protect the Pope. While there he uncovers a plot by local mobsters, the Altos, to blackmail the Pope. According to Wiley, the title for last year’s play came before the play itself, so this year he was “waiting for a title to come along” before he began writing.
“I partly wanted to continue Wesley Moreau because I like his character,” Wiley said of the role he wrote for himself. This year the juniors took advantage of Vinalhaven’s new auditorium for their play. The production was complete with sets built by the class, lighting by junior class member Johnny Davis and Burns, and extensive voice-overs by Wiley for the Moreau character. The larger space also allowed for more elaborate antics, including a hilarious chase scene in “gondolas.”
The class served an authentic Italian meal between acts, prepared by local restaurateurs Lonnie and Kathy Morton. Whitney Pratt played Jacqueline and Fettucini. “[Doing the play] was so much work!” she admitted. “It was more work than last year, and it was a lot longer so it was much more difficult and took a lot longer to learn, but it was fun.” Danielle Bickford, who played Cardinal Biggles, wished they had spent more time in rehearsal. “We didn’t have enough time to practice,” she said, “but I thought it was a good play. I thought people liked it.”
One hundred and eighty six people, to be exact. The new school building allowed the class to sell far more tickets than it did the year before. The Feb. 28 show sold out, and a table had to be added at the last minute to accommodate all comers. A second show, minus the dinner, was added on March 7, which allowed more community members to enjoy the young local talent.