Directing not 'all
Greek' to ranch wife
By Milo Dailey, Belle Fourche Post/Bee
BELLE FOURCHE - The ancient Greeks loved to go to the
theater and turned dozens of their myths into plays.
Emily Carr is made up for her portrayal of the
Greek goddess Athena by director Reva Potter, left, and
playwright Eileen Miller. The Belle Fourche Middle
School production of Miller's play "It's All Greek to
Me" runs Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16 and 17, at the
Belle Fourche Area Community Center theater. (Milo
Dailey/Belle Fourche Post/Bee)
That seemed like a good idea to
Belle Fourche Middle School English teacher Reva Potter.
She already volunteered to direct the school's spring play
and needed a script for the school's sixth- through
But instead of buying rights from one of the nation's
theatrical companies, she went to Eileen Miller, a Belle
Fourche ranch wife who had been writing skits for youth
groups at the United Methodist Church.
She got more than a play.
Miller also is an excellent seamstress who is designing and
creating costumes, adding parts and rewriting characters to
match about 40 students who auditioned for parts in the
Potter said Miller's play takes a bit from Shakespeare's bag
of tricks and writes a play within a play as part of the
"It's a modern-day setting," Potter said, "but the
characters do four plays within the play."
Then there's Miller's son, Belle Fourche High School
freshman Logan Miller, who wrote music that he, Marlo Kapsa,
Spencer Schreier and Margo Ensz will perform with the play
in a rock band. All but Marlo are freshmen at BFHS. She is
"They do a lot of original stuff," Eileen said of the band
The play is at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, and 2 p.m. Saturday,
Feb. 17, at the Belle Fourche Area Community Center theater.
Potter said the idea was to add some classical studies for
the middle school
students as well as offer an opportunity to participate in
"It's something to expand our school curriculum more," she
That was the idea. Miller's script went even further than
The mythic figures of Persephone, Demeter, Pandora and
Arachne all figure in their own plays within the play.
Miller said the ancient Greeks played a major role in
setting up much of today's everyday life - such as voting.
Potter is in her first year as director for the middle
school play. Her "day job" is as a seventh grade language
She's especially happy with Miller as the playwright because
it gives much more flexibility with the script. She could
add or change parts on the fly.
That's exactly what happened as more students than expected
showed up for auditions, and the cast was expanded to have
about 40 students.
The play also has some slightly older folks to make things
work. Sandi Hespe, school secretary, and parent Darren
Messner are helping with sets and such.
Other parents are kicking in with their own skills for the
Miller seems an unlikely playwright, whether for church
skits or a school play.
She and her husband ranch northwest of Belle Fourche, but
the timing of a February production worked.
"We calve around April, so this is a good time," she said.
"I have written skits for our youth service up at the
Methodist Church and Reva talked to me about a play."
The idea seemed interesting, and she had already written so
many one-act skits that Potter said there is an eight-inch
stack of scripts at the church that were proven to interest
young people and entertain all ages.
Miller started the play at the beginning of the school year.
It took about two months before there was a finished
"The modern day story wasn't too bad," she said, "But the
Greek mythology meant I had to do some research. It's been a
while since high school mythology."
But the product wasn't complete until Miller made revisions
to fit students who would be in the cast.
The rock band?
Potter said the students like a jazz-blues sort of
background, and they're already writing their own material -
mostly Logan Miller's. He is increasingly known in the area
as a budding songwriter and musician.
The band isn't the only batch of middle school students or
alums who are involved.
Freshman Aaron Schanzenbach and sophomore Jeremiah Jones
volunteered to help with staging and lighting.
One way or another, Potter said, it's a family-oriented play
that should be fun for all ages to attend. All ages have
pitched in to prepare for the production.
During the intermission Alpha Delta Kappa will have treats
available - and that will help the sorority's scholarship
Miller was obviously having fun as she and student costumers
worked on wardrobe for the play.
She watched Potter work with different groups of students
and adults at the middle school's band room as they went
about assignments to make posters, masks and costumes.
"She's great with the kids," Miller said of her play's
director. "They're having fun."
Potter admitted that directing 40 middle school students in
a new play is a bit of a stretch, "but they are doing a