AYER -- Two students from Ayer Shirley Regional High School have been enjoying a bit of déjà vu in recent weeks.
Senior Carolyn Cooper and junior Chris Govang have been friends since middle school when they played opposite each other as Aladdin and Jasmine in Ayer Shirley Regional Middle School's production of "Aladdin JR."
Now, the two are in rehearsals for their upcoming musical production, "Little Shop of Horrors," running May 10 through 12 in the Laura S. Leavitt Auditorium.
"My middle-school performance of Jasmine was one of my favorite roles to play so far. It made it even better than I had Chris there with me. It's always so much fun working with him on and off stage," Cooper said.
A participant in the high school's concert, jazz and marching bands, concert choir, varsity volleyball, the EMT course, Cooper has been involved with the Drama Club all four years at the high school, right now being president of the club.
Onstage she has performed in "November Night Live," "Cinderella," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Almost Maine," "...Charlie Brown," and most recently, "The Importance of Being Earnest."
She is also a member of the Quick Wits Improv Troupe. Carolyn has received two performance awards from the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild (METG) for her work in "Almost, Maine" and in this year's Theater Celebration entry, "What I Left Behind.
"Being able to play opposite Chris again in my senior year as Seymour and Audrey is so incredible. I can't wait to bring these characters to life. I wouldn't want to end my high school drama career any other way," Cooper said.
Next September, Carolyn will be attending college at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a double major in music education and performance, with French horn as her primary instrument.
Govang most recently performed as Algernon in "The Importance of Being Earnest," and has been involved in some capacity in all ASRHS shows since his freshman year including "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Almost Maine," and "...Charlie Brown," for which he received an award for outstanding performance by the METG.
"I think one of the first things I thought after we got our roles was something like, 'Huh, that's funny, it's just like middle school.' It was neat because her last year of middle school we worked opposite each other, and for her last year of high school it's happening again," Govang said. "Considering how well 'Aladdin' went, I'm even more excited with how the show is going to turn out."
Govang is also a participant in the school concert band and chorus. Last season, Chris was stage manager for ASRHS Drama's entry at the Mass. Educational Theater Guild's Theater Celebration.
Govang has played multiple leading roles with Concord Youth Theatre, is a perpetual stage manager for ArtsNashoba productions, and enjoys playing flute, piccolo, clarinet, piano and guitar.
"What'll be especially interesting is how different the roles will be from 'Aladdin.' Even though they have the same chemistry," he said, "because we've grown so much in the past few years, it'll really be a drastic shift from where we started to now."
ASRHS Drama Club's next production of the hilariously horrific "Little Shop of Horrors" will play May 10 and 11 at 7 p.m.; May 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. in the Laura S. Leavitt Auditorium at Ayer Shirley Regional High School, 141 Washington Street in Ayer. Tickets are available by phone, at the door, or in advance at the Hazen Memorial Library in Shirley. They are $15 general admission; $10 for students and senior citizens.
For information about "Little Shop of Horrors" or the ASRHS Drama Club, call (978) 772-2545 or visit ASRHS Drama online at www.jacneed.com/ASYD/AyerShirleyDrama.htm.