"I use my grandma as an example," Palmer said. "It is a challenge, but it's fun to play with your voice and [think about] how you think she would talk."
The 17-year-old plays the role of Ethel Savage in Notre Dame Regional High School's performance of John Patrick's "The Curious Savage," running this weekend at the school.
The comedy tells the story of Savage, who finds ways to spend the approximately $10 million her deceased husband has left her, at least until her greedy stepchildren have her committed to an insane asylum. There, Savage meets a group of emotionally scarred but hopelessly funny -- and loving -- inmates who leave the audience wondering just who the real crazy people are.
"The story is really clever and funny, but it also shows how you shouldn't ever assume people are a certain way based on what has happened to them or what kind of lifestyle you're from," Palmer said. "And it really shows you that if you think you're normal, maybe you're the crazy one."
Palmer, among an ensemble of 11 Notre Dame actors, said she sees a lot of similarities between "The Curious Savage" and the life of contemporary teens.
"Being in high school, there are always those times you're going to be judged based on what you're involved with and what your life story is," she said. "Sometimes it's assumed you're better or worse than someone else. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else, you just look at things from a different perspective."
Palmer is a veteran of the Notre Dame stage, appearing in every play and musical during her high school career.
"I love theater. It's my passion," she said.
She said the cast has grown close during rehearsals, which began the second week of September.
"It's really great to see all the talent coming together and building friendships," Palmer said. "Everyone in the show is really passionate about theater. It's a ton of fun. We're like one big family."
-- M.D. Kittle
265 Notre Dame Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO