By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – St. Rose of Lima Church in Northborough experienced some high school drama April 29 in front of its altar as it became the stage for 26 members of an improv troop from Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS). Parishioners were able to enjoy a 15-minute performance entitled “Church Ball,” based on a fictional, highly emotionally charged basketball game between the ARHS varsity team and the St. Rose of Lima team.
Drama and public speaking teacher Maura Morrison and students in a group called The Drama-hawks wrote “Church Ball.” It was one of a series of original sketches that was a part of the winter show “Homemade Theater,” performed in March at the high school.
“My role is to propose ideas, set up improvisational scenes and take a deeper dive into stories that appear to have potential,” she said.
To gain more perspective on the proposed skit idea, Morrison spent an early weekend morning last winter in Worcester watching the St. Rose team play and was able to gain more insights directly from players of the team.
The real St. Rose of Lima team has been playing Diocesan League basketball for over 25 years.
Senior Charles Murray said the process took about two to three months but when they started rehearsing, they knew it was going to be funny.
Junior Kevin Jacobson said the original script was too long and it had to be cut down for timing purposes.
The premise of the skit is that one of the Church Ball players is recruited to play for the ARHS T-Hawk team, which leads to tension when he quits the St. Rose team. The friction is settled by having the two teams play against one another. In addition, there is also a grudge between the two coaches to be resolved.
The St. Rose team is on the brink of losing the game until the Pope makes a surprise visit.
“The skit was well received at school,” said Jacobson. “There are a lot of school references and jokes that students understood.”
Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Father Jim Houston heard about the skit through students and was eager to arrange to have the group perform at the church before the start of a volunteer appreciation dinner.
The group only had one rehearsal before “Church Ball” was performed at St. Rose.
“We had to run through the script since the space was very different,” said Jacobson.
“Every show I’ve been involved in has been open to the community,” said Morrison. “It has enabled me to meet parents, grandparents, neighbors, and bosses of the students involved. The support of our efforts is always appreciated. This is, however, the first show I’ve directed that was performed on the altar.”