The audience at West Fargo Sheyenne’s fall show “The Outsiders” may very well be familiar with the S.E. Hinton novel turned 1983 movie made famous by Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe.
But audience members will see an unfamiliar face as the lead role, a hockey player turned performer who had never even seen a show before trying out and nabbing the main character Ponyboy.
Teagen Beier didn’t want to look back at his high school years and have any regrets. He auditioned for the show on a whim, wanting to try something different and meet new friends.
Beier, a senior, was surprised when he saw the cast list.
“I was expecting to get a smaller role. I didn't go into it thinking I was going to get the lead role," Beier said.
“The Outsiders” is centered around Ponyboy, a teenager who is a gang member of the “Greasers,” a group of working-class guys who continually feud with the rival gang “Socs,” which is made up of upper-class members.
The coming-of-age play shows how Ponyboy, who tries to keep the peace and wants everyone to get along, maneuvers through these two at-odds societies.
Second-year Sheyenne theater director Marilyn Laliberte said the show’s theme was timeless.
“I mean, this was written a long time ago by S.E. Hinton, and there was a movie that came out in 1983,” Laliberte said. “The theme is about how you have two different groups who think they’re so different. That stereotyping ends up in violence, and even death.”
The play is also led by theater veteran Logan Lang, who plays fellow greaser, Dallas. Lang said the show was very similar to the book.
“There’s plenty of laughter, plenty of tears,” Lang said. “It’s a whole range of emotions, the show will have you all over.”
Lang has been in theater since sixth grade, and comes with a lot of expertise and passion, Laliberte said. And his experience has lent him to be a leader, often helping Beier with blocking, which is the movement and staging of the actors.
“You have two guys here on opposite sides of the spectrum,” Laliberte said. “You have Teagen who has never seen a play before, and then Logan, who has been doing this for so long.”
Going from the locker room to a dressing room, there’s a lot more to theater than just reading lines, Beier said.
“I've learned a lot lot of things through Logan,” Beier said. “I didn't know what blocking was when I first started.”
Beier has all of his lines down now, but said the memorization was the hardest part of the show, which runs at 7:30 p.m. from Nov. 21-23, and at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 24.
While Nov. 21 will be Beier’s first opening night, it’ll be Lang’s 13th.
“I'm definitely nervous going to be out there in front of 450 people for the first time. I'm up on stage alone for a good five minutes,” Beier said.
Beier will share the stage with a few other fresh faces. The oldest person on stage is 18, and the youngest is five. Laliberte has a group of about five or six children that range from ages five to 12 who are involved in one of the fire scenes.
Laliberte said a couple of the kids don’t understand that the fire is only pretend.
“So, we’ll see. They might get scared but we’ll see,” she said.
Before moving to West Fargo, Laliberte taught English and directed in New York and Maryland.
“I'm enjoying getting to know Sheyenne, the theater and the way it is,” she said. “Very supportive people in these fine arts, and so much support from the administration. It’s amazing and it’s refreshing.”