DuBOIS – Penn State DuBois student John Vallone may be a freshman in college, but as a playwright, his sophomore effort is already slated for curtain call. The second one-act play penned by this creative writing major and DuBois native titled, Dress Rehearsal, is set to be performed by students at the DuBois Area High School (DAHS), where Vallone graduated from just last year.
This will be the second time the DAHS students perform the comedic play. The students debuted the show at the 2012 Pennsylvania Thespian Conference earlier this fall; Vallone offered his work to the troupe upon hearing they had been shopping for a one-act to perform at the conference. This time, however, the show takes on a bigger meaning. The performance in DuBois will serve as a benefit for one of the high school's acting troupe members. The student actor is battling heart problems due to complications from a blood infection. Voluntary monetary donations will be accepted at the door to help cover the student's medical expenses.
"Getting the play from script to stage actually took me a while," Vallone recalled. "I started writing it a very long time ago before sort of abandoning it, until I heard that the DAHS drama department was looking for a one-act to perform at the 2012 Pennsylvania Thespian Conference. About a month later, they decided to perform it again [for the benefit], and here we are."
Vallone was certainly proud to have the play selected for performance at the conference, but has been most honored to have his work contribute to the support of a DAHS student. He said, "It feels really amazing that enough people liked the thing I wrote to want to act in it and direct it, and do everything else that goes into bringing a play to life. I think it's also really good that something I made is being put to such a good cause."
Dress Rehearsal, Vallone explained, portrays a theater troupe running through the final dress rehearsal of a contemporary drama before their opening night performance. As the show progresses, things begin to fall apart.
"I was inspired to write it by my time acting in high school productions and being around so many people, who were all crazy in their own unique and lovely ways, and by the idea that a bad dress rehearsal means a great opening night," recalled Vallone, who's theatrical efforts also include performances at the Reitz Theater in DuBois. In addition, he previously wrote a one-act titled, Imagine That, that was performed at the DAHS 2012 Senior Showcase.
Vallone also gets his writing talents honestly. He is the son of two members of the Penn State DuBois English faculty; Jackie Atkins, senior instructor in English and Women's Studies, and Tony Vallone, associate professor of English.
Dress Rehearsal is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16, at DuBois Area High. The amount attendees wish to donate is up to the individual.