It’s been two years since the spotlight was on the Douglas High School drama club, due to the coronavirus limitations on school activities. But now the stage is lit, and students are lifting the curtain with two new student-directed shows Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 in the high school drama room.
Student directors Samantha Rollins and Freddie Baker are competing for the ninth annual 1 Act Play Festival with their productions “Admissions” by Colleen Neuman and “Everyone gets Eaten by Sharks,” by Marshall Pailet.
Douglas High School Drama teacher Amy Sando said this is the first show put on by the drama students since the 1 Acts in 2019.
The student directors choose the play they want to use for their competition piece, formulate a cast, set, and put on the show. The pieces are judged by alumni thespian students and the winning act goes on to perform at the Thespian festival in spring.
“Everyone is really excited to get up on stage and perform for an audience,” said Sando. “For many it will be their first time up on stage and directing and they’ve all done a great job so far.”
The two plays are completely different genres with deep meanings, said Sando.
“Both give the audience something to think about in different ways,” said Sando. “One is serious, emotional and a drama, while the other is a comedy with some take-away lessons.”
Directed by Rollins, “Admissions” is the emotional ladder of Evelyn who dies suddenly and must accept her death, through her memories in this verbal diary of her life and the chance to relive one moment as she closes the door.
“It’s meant to be serious,” said Rollins. “It’s about a woman who must come to terms with her death through a look into her life and how she feels she didn’t have a fair chance at finishing it.”
Through the drama, the audience climb the emotional ladder with the characters and learn self-forgiveness from Evelyn, said sophomore Abby Olson who is playing Aunt Sylvia.
“Something dramatic happens in Evelyn’s life that she has to relive and forgive herself for and I think at one point or another, we all go through that same thing,” she said.
Rollins, now a junior has been in drama since her freshman year. She performed in a comedy, but this is her first time directing, she said.
“I’m very excited and proud of these guys because they have put in a lot of work,” said Rollins.
Baker’s play takes a comedic approach on life lessons in “Everyone gets Eaten by Sharks” by Marshall Pailet. This cautionary tale and madcap comedy of what not to do if you don’t want to be eaten by sharks, is led by Adventure Dan who takes audience on a tour through avoidable scenarios such as kayaking with meat paddles, night-swimming after prom, or genetically engineering sharks for science, which are not only bad ideas with inevitable consequences, but may result in a shark attack too, but at least you might get a good timeshare.
“It’s like a Monty Python type comedy,” said Baker. “This play seems very simple and basic, but there are some true lessons that can be applied in real life, it’s not something to be underestimated.”
Baker performed in another of Marshal Pailet’s plays, “Everyone gets Abducted by Aliens” freshman year and wanted to do something similar for her thespian piece.
“I wanted to do something funny after COVID and pay tribute to my roots as a freshman,” said Baker. “It’s been a bit of a challenge and fun. It’s something you don’t realize takes a lot of energy until you actually do it.”
Both productions will show starting at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 with 2 p.m. matinees Saturday in the DHS drama room,101, at the high school. Cost is $5 for students and $10 general admission. Saturday matinees will be donation only and free for students.
“We’re looking forward to the community coming and supporting the drama club,” said Sando. “It’s been a while, but we’re excited to be back and the kids have all work really hard.”