Cast a spell

Megan Smith

Photo By brad bynum

Truckee Meadows Community College Performing Arts presents the play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Redfield Performing Arts Center, 505 Keystone Ave., Feb. 26 through March 14. Megan Smith, 22, appears in the cast as Olive Ostrovsky. For tickets or more information, call 789-5671.

Tell me about the play.

Well, we’re all obviously adult actors, but we’re portraying 12-year-old characters—between the ages of 10 and 12, from different areas of Putnam County, from the different elementary schools. We’re all there to compete in the county spelling bee, which is the highlight of all of our lives. So we kind of portray like the less popular kids in elementary school, the ones people would’ve called “dorks.” The shy girl, that’s me, and all sorts of different characters. We have one girl who wants to run for president, another whose parents push her to do it—our parents all push us to do different things during the show. … It’s a nine-person cast. The actors who play the parents double their roles as the parents during the actual spelling bee, and then there are flashbacks to different scenes with the parents.

So, is it a comedy?

Oh, it’s completely a comedy. Definitely.

Tell me more about your character.

She’s the shy girl. Her mother’s in India on a six-month self-discovery journey, and my father doesn’t even come to the spelling bee. She watches the whole time to see if he comes, and her big song is actually a trio where she fantasizes about her parents telling her that they love her, because apparently they never have.

So, it’s a musical too?

Yes. It’s a lot fun, upbeat.

Where are you from?

I’m from Las Vegas. I went to school there, and then I moved up here for college. I’m a vocal performance major at the University of Nevada, and then I’m also getting a musical theater associate’s [degree] at TMCC.

What’s unusual about this production?

Our entire set is set up like a gymnasium. We have lots of different fun things going on. … It’s such a small, intimate cast. I think that’s becoming more popular in musicals now, but it is a little bit unique.

And there’s actually the competition of the spelling bee in the show, right?

Oh, yes. We have audience members participate. They come down from the audience and they get to spell, and then when they get out, we have songs that we sing to them. That’s a lot of fun. We ask them to do some fun things.

How good are you at spelling?

We’re fairly good spellers, but for the words that we have to spell for the show, it’s probably a good thing that they’re scripted.

What are some of the words you have to spell?

Chromatophore … It’s kind of a good vocabulary lesson. Chimerical. That’s the word that starts off my song, actually. C-H-I-M-E-R-I-C-A-L. That means “highly unrealistic and wildly fanciful.”