Michael "Miko" Gifford and Lisa Mae Roether in Beowulf Alley Theatre's "The Pavilion," set at a 20th high school reunion.


A high school reunion can be agonizing.

Or, perhaps, a chance for redemption.

It is both in Craig Wright's "The Pavilion," which Beowulf Alley Theatre opens this weekend.

The story rotates around Peter and Kari at their 20th high school reunion, which takes place at the Pavilion, a local landmark that has heaps of its own memories. It's ready to destroyed. But not before this reunion.

Peter and Kari were voted the "cutest couple" and the expectations were that they would go off into the sunset and live happily ever after.

In reality, Kari got pregnant in her senior year, and Peter shrugged his shoulders and fled. She ended the pregnancy, stayed in town and married. Peter went on to a series of miserable relationships.

And now, he realizes, he made a mistake. Kari was the great love of his life. He's hoping the 20th will give him a second chance.

"It's universal and very specific," says Whitney Morton, who is directing the production.

"High school is such a tumultuous time that people will find something to relate to."

The play features just three actors and more than 20 characters, most of them played by one actress. She shifts from one former classmate to another, generally with just seconds - and with no costume changes - to help the audience realize it's a new character.

As a director, Morton said, that's "an interesting challenge."

High school 20 years later can offer a snapshot of dreams lost, and maybe some realized.

"I think regret is a big theme in this," Morton says.

"A lot of people the narrator plays express dreams they had that they missed out on, or some kind of love that's lost, or something they are still searching for. The narrator says at some point that this is a play about time … about how time can heal, too."

The play can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster, she adds.

"It's sad and nostalgic, but also very funny," she says. "In rehearsal, just about every night at certain scenes, people have cried. But they've laughed, too."

If you go

• What: Beowulf Alley Theatre's production of "The Pavilion."

• By: Craig Wright.

• Director: Whitney Morton.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through March 3.

• Where: Beowulf Alley Theatre, 11 S. Sixth Ave.

• Cost: $20, with discounts available.

• Reservations, information: beowulfalley.org or 622-4460.

• Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, including intermission.

• Cast: Martie Van Der Voort, Michael "Miko" Gifford and Lisa Mae Roether.