“On Borrowed Time” Comes to Helena High

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Zane Roush, Head Writer

The Helena High Thespians closed out their 2018/19 season with a production of On Borrowed Time, and it is quite the show. The play, originally written in 1938 by Paul Osborn, features humor, suspense, and a bit of the supernatural, this play had something for everyone.

The play follows the story of Pud, a young boy who goes to live with his grandparents after his parents die. Pud, played by Sarah Melbourne-Baker, is hero-worships of his grandfather, played by Torin Trout, and mimics the aging man in every way, from swearing to drinking. This doesn’t sit well with Granny (Rylee Reynolds) or Demetria Riffle (Melina Scott), Pud’s aunt. Granny hopes that Gramps will stop his bad habits to keep Pud from replicating him, while Demetria hopes to adopt the boy to reform him and collect his large inheritance.

Eventually Mr. Brink (McCabe Thomas), who personifies death, comes to collect Gramps, and failing to do so, he opts to take Granny instead. Gramps is deeply hurt by the loss of Granny, and tries to raise Pud in a healthy way that would fit Granny’s liking. Mr. Brink returns for Gramps, but Gramps tricks death into climbing an apple tree, where he gets stuck, suspending death across the world. Without death, funny things start happening, and repercussions of Gramps’ quick thinking become apparent. Now Gramps must decide what do with Mr. Brink, either keep him in the tree and let the problems pile up, or let Mr. Brink down from the tree and accept his own passing.

All the while, Demetria is trying to gain custody of Pud by whatever means necessary. When asking and sweet-talking fail, she resorts to getting Gramps committed to an asylum for his ranting about death. Here she employs the help of the town doctor, Dr. James Evans (Kynan Moon), Gramps’ lawyer, Ben Pilbeam (Charles Barnett), and Sheriff Burlingame (Breanna Harrison).

In the end, Mr. Brink tries to take Pud in order to lure Gramps into the past life, but ends up mortally wounding the boy. This twist motivates Gramps to accept death, where him, Pud, and Granny are reunited. No one expects this sharp ending, but it is satisfying knowing that Pud and Gramps stay together.

This production had many challenges, from complex sets to long scripts, but the Thespians executed it well. All of the characters seemed vastly different than their actors, and it was easy to become emotionally invested in the story line. Even if you aren’t a fan of theater, you have to give some respect to the talented actors and actresses who spent serious time bringing this show to life.

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