McALISTERVILLE - High school, a humiliating scene for some, has become a setting of humility for students at Juniata Mennonite School.
The high school theater group is practicing to perform a musical about humility written by local pastor Andy Meiser and musician Skip Kline.
"Rising" is the third musical that the two JMS parents have written for the school.
The playwrights said they pray for a new topic for their musicals every year.
Kline, who picked the humility theme, also wrote 13 original songs for the production - the most music the team produced yet for a single theatrical.
Originally, Kline said he envisioned a fully sung production like a rock opera, but he soon realized that he would not have enough time to write that amount of music.
The team spent a year studying their subject and its traits, Kline said.
"Skip and I found this topic ferociously difficult to write about seeing as humility is problematic for we prideful humans to define, and even harder to depict," Meiser said.
With input from the students, they chose to mold the theme around a high school backdrop. In high school, students often do whatever they can to rise to the top of the social ladder, but many fall flat on their faces in the process, Meiser said.
The plot follows Holly, a student who is trying to get her feet up the ladder; but through the help of a quirky guidance counselor Mr. Jay, she discovers that rising does not work, Meiser said.
The large cast makes up various stereotypical high school cliques: the geeks, the cools, the goths, the blonds, he said.
"Rising" has the most talented cast ever, is possibly the funniest, and definitely the most "musical" musical the school has presented, Meiser said, laughing at irony of his statement.
"We hope the audience walks away with a new perspective on an aspect of God's personality ..." Kline said. "We're not looking at glory for ourselves."
The pastor gave a lot of credit to JMS teacher Jim Rosner, who is directing the performance.
"It's easier to do a pre-canned (musical)," Meiser said. "Mr. Rosner showed a lot of faith in us and a lot of patience."
"Rising" will be performed at 7 p.m. May 20 and 21 at the Cedar Grove Brethren in Christ Church, Mifflintown. There is no ticket cost, but a freewill offering will be taken. For more information, call the school at 463-2898.