A 17-year-old father raising an 18-year-old child? ‘Dozen’ is trial for the ages

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Andrea Vidaurre

As the Southport Theater Department was practicing for their spring production, it was noticeable that a few students were acting like children. For those who haven’t seen or read “Cheaper by the Dozen,” it is about a family of 14, including the parents. Some students in the production have to tackle the role of someone with a major age difference, which may lead to some challenges.
For some youth actors, taking on the role of your average teenager with many siblings may be easy. For others, taking on the role of a baby or an intermediate child may be a bit of an obstacle. Roles for the play are assigned after a student auditions and Barb Whitlock, the director, assigns a student to a role that she thinks would be a good match.
“Mrs. Whitlock does a good job of showing us exactly how she wants us to act,” senior Austin Walton said.
Walton has a bit of a different role. He has been given the role of one of the younger siblings and a son of Mr. Gilbreth (Dylan Shaffer) . Walton studied abroad in Germany for a year and participated in his first play while he was there. He had never been in a production at SHS before he left, but after his performance in Germany, he decided that he wanted to get involved here. He thinks that his role in the upcoming play won’t be too difficult, as he believes he can relate to his character.
“I think I’m pretty kiddish, and I love messing around so it shouldn’t be too hard,” Walton said.
Walton says that the theater department is like a family, so it’s good for when they have to act like a real one on stage.
Junior Dylan Shaffer, who has been in productions since the middle of his sophomore year, will be playing the role of Mr. Gilbreth, the father of the family. Although Shaffer is very happy with his role, he says that this will be a little bit of a challenge, but still fun. Shaffer says that the biggest obstacle for him is that he is not a 40 year old man who is the father of 12 kids, but he has to play a responsible role and keep a big secret that will be revealed to the audiences during the play.
“It plays a couple challenges I have to get through, and I really have to get into character for dad,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer’s favorite part of his role is having 12 kids. He compares it to his real life with his siblings.
“My dad freaked out about my sisters doing things, so now I get to freak out about my daughters doing things,” Shaffer said.