The Jury is Out in Junior High Play

The junior high student cast enter the Candy Cane Court Room Tuesday night for their Christmas theater production at the Armstrong High School auditorium. The play begins at 7PM. Tickets are available at the door for $5.

The Armstrong Junior High student cast is ready to present their annual Christmas production tomorrow night.

Teacher-Advisor Denise Gamble described the play.

“It’s a one-act play. It’s about a young boy in Candy Cane USA that comes up with this idea that Christmas is nonsense and there is no such thing as Christmas spirit. They bring him to trial in the Candy Cane Court House. The magic of Christmas brings all these Christmas characters in to try to prove him wrong.”

Characters include an angel, a caroler, a toymaker, a reindeer, wise men from the Biblical story, Mrs. Cratchet and Tiny Tim, and of course, Santa Claus.

The play begins with the audience as being sworn in as the jury that must reach a verdict by the end of the play.

Isabella Nanney plays the judge who must keep order in the Candy Cane Court Room!

The judge in the court room is a central character in the play. It is played by Manor Township 8th grader Isabella Nanney.

“It’s a lot of fun. There’s never a dull moment.”

This is Nanney’s second year to be cast in the junior high play. She said this year is different from her first year.

“There were different scenes last year and a lot more walking around,” she recalled. “This year is more stationary. You stay in the same general area.”

She said it took her about four days to memorize her lines, which she executed skillfully during the Friday afternoon rehearsal.

Lauren Corbett plays the stenographer in the Armstrong Junior High production.

West Franklin Township 8th grader Lauren Corbett acted in last year’s production and is back for another role.

“I’m the Clerk. I tell the people to go sit down if they don’t listen to the judge. I have to type everything down that they say. I have to take notes. And most of the time, I’m actually pretty quiet” she said.

Corbett said this year she is working with a bigger cast but has less lines than she did in last year’s performance.

“It’s more fun because it is Christmas – my favorite time of the year. It is more of joy, and a time of giving, and I am a Christian, so it is one of my favorite holidays.”

This is 7th Grader Gracie Crownover’s first production. She is from Ford City and plays a snow character.

“I have to help reindeer fly so I need to throw snow on the ground and apparently that helps them fly.”


Gracie Crownover sprinkles snow which she says helps to make reindeer fly in the Armstrong Theater production.

Crownover said acting was more work than she thought it would be.

“It was harder than I thought it would be. Since this is my first time, I thought it would be easier, but it is hard. Remembering the lines are tough to remember them and when to come in.”

She felt this play would be an excellent venue to bring the family.

“I think this would be a good play to come and watch. I would recommend it. It is really funny. Isabella yells a lot during it. I think my scene makes everything calm down a little bit.”

8th Grader Riley Edwards is the caroler in the play. She leads many of the songs throughout the play.

“I sing at the beginning which was originally was going to be a recording, but I asked if I could sing. Then I am part of the jury and react to what is going on. I have a couple of lines throughout the play.”

Edwards said she is looking forward to Tuesday’s production.

Riley Edwards is the Caroler that is a musical leader in Candy Cane Court.

“Everybody who is in this play put a lot of effort and time into it. Now we are just in the process of having fun. If we could get a big crowd, that would be great!”

This is Gamble’s third junior high play at Armstrong. She previously did plays at Kittanning Junior High. Sadly, this will be her last production.

“This is my last junior high theater production, as I will be retiring in June. I have thirty years of teaching. I am feeling very ready for another phase of my life with grandchildren, continuing to make music with my French horn, and do other things,”  Gamble announced.

The play will be held one night only, Tuesday, December 5, at 7PM in the Armstrong High School auditorium. Tickets are available at the door for $5 each.