Kylie Gehring has always loved to act in theater productions at Grain Valley High School. But already as a junior, she has taken every theater class the school has to offer and has had a variety of opportunities on the stage. That makes her directorial debut that much more exciting.

Kylie Gehring has always loved to act in theater productions at Grain Valley High School. But already as a junior, she has taken every theater class the school has to offer and has had a variety of opportunities on the stage. That makes her directorial debut that much more exciting.

“I am a really creative person and have great ideas that I have always wanted to see come to life. It is so fantastic when they do,” Gehring said. “I have been having so much fun, and love my cast. It has been such a great learning experience.”

Unlike in the past, Grain Valley will be presenting three performances as part of its spring production. “Dinner and a Swashbuckling” is at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the high school. Following the short comedy will be two, student-directed, one-act plays – “The Day Boy and the Night Girl,” directed by Amber Nieznajko, and “Ghostly Trinkets,” directed by Gehring. Admission is $4 for students and $6 for adults and includes all three performances.

“Dinner and a Swashbuckling” is about a couple who goes to eat at a pirate-themed restaurant where the employees think they are actually pirates. They end up being held hostage, while learning a little about themselves during the comedy.

Theater director Athena Melnicki said because it is a shorter play, she thought this was a good opportunity to give a couple of her more seasoned students the opportunity to direct their own one-acts. She said it allows them to use some of what they have learned in the classroom in a real-world situation.

“These two students have taken every theater class we have and now have nowhere else to go. This was the next logical step,” she said. “They are able to learn and grow through this experience and find out what it takes to direct a play.”

“Ghostly Trinkets” is about a Nazi soldier who is being haunted by his past victims. Their spirits are living inside the trinkets that he took.

Gehring said she chose it because she loves the World War II era and the play has many dramatic elements.

“I believe World War II is the most dramatic part of our history, which makes it so intriguing,” she said. “I really do love acting, but I think if I had to choose, I would continue to direct.”

“The Day Boy and the Night Girl” is about a volunteer who visits an orphan hospital and starts telling a story that parallels the lives of those inside the hospital. Through the story, they begin to learn life lessons. Nieznajko said she liked the piece because it has a small cast and a nice story line that is a little different.

“This whole experience has been eye-opening because you are working with your peers. You want to have fun, but at the same time, you have to be professional and get the job done,” she said. “There is this consistent balance between friendship and being in charge, which has been the biggest challenge to learn. The most amazing thing is even when the cast struggles, they still pull through. It has been great.”