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Douglas High celebrates Theatre in Our Schools

by Joyce Hollister

Spoofs, music and comedy will be offered by theater students at Douglas High School as they celebrate Theatre in Our Schools Month in March.

The celebration is sponsored by nationally the Educational Theatre Association, and Douglas High School’s Thespian Troupe #990 is a member of the group, according to drama coach and DHS teacher Rod Hearn.

“We have Thespian meetings every Tuesday at lunch in the drama room,” Hearn said. “The kids have to participate in two high school productions, either on stage or back stage, then they’re eligible to join.”

“I’m Sorry, the Bridge is Out, You’ll Have to Spend the night,” what Hearn calls a spoof of all the bad horror movies you’ve ever seen, opened on Thursday and continues tonight and March 23-25, 7 p.m. in the DHS drama room.

Among the many characters in this musical comedy are a werewolf and his gypsy mother, Dracula and his wife, Frankenstein’s monster and the mummy. The action is complemented by a trio of draculas singing doo wap in the background.

All Douglas students were able to try out for the show, and Hearn said there are students from the music department and some who have never been on stage who are involved.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.

The intermediate drama class will perform the one-act play, “Puberty: The Game Show,” March 30 at 7 p.m., also in the drama room, which is located to the left of the main entrance doors at the school.

“During most of the year,” Hearn said, “the students performed the Kids on the Block puppet show, which they recently completed. This is the one-act play for the semester, only open to intermediate drama students.”

The play pokes fun at puberty and also gets at some of the issues that early adolescents go through, he said, such as the first kiss and breaking curfew. It appeals to everyone teens and up, and may not be suitable for younger children, he added.

Cost for this show is $2.

The musical theatre class will produce the full-length musical, “Annabelle Broom, the Unhappy Witch,” and will take the show one the road to perform before elementary school audiences.

The class will also offer public performance, April 6, 7 p.m. at the school. Cost is $2.

“Last year,” Hearn said, “was the first year for this class. They did a musical revue at the end of each semester, and this is the second year. We’re putting together a published musical for children. The kids are looking forward to touring.”

The story concerns a reluctant witch who wants to wear pink instead of the usual black.

“It’s a great show for kids,” Hearn said. “It helps kids learn to be comfortable with themselves and not conform to peer pressure.”

Hearn, his wife Cathy Hearn and Julie Franklin each teach drama at DHS in addition to their duties as English teachers. Franklin also teaches speech and Cathy Hearn teaches history. Altogether he said, the drama classes don’t add up to a full-time position.

“It’s a nice combination,” he said of the way the three of them share coaching theater. “The three of us can offer a lot more during the year than one person could.

“We complement each other well. On one show, I might be doing scenery and Julie would be directing.”

Members of the Thespian Troupe at DHS went to the State Thespian conference two years ago and last year to Ashland, Ore., to the Shakespeare Festival. They hope to attend the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Neb., this year for a full week of advanced acting and technical theatre workshops as well as an 18-hour, one-act play marathon.

Seniors may also audition for colleges that offer theatre programs, and seniors can audition for scholarships, Hearn said.

Community members and businesses interested in supporting the theatre program at Douglas High School may help with hard cash.

For $20, you can adopt a stagehand, for $35, an actor, for $50, a director, and for $65 and up, the producer – this last category pays for the royalties for one performance.

“Most community members don’t know we have to pay a lot of money to get permission and scripts,” Hearn said. “Copyright – that’s how playwrights, songwriters and publishers make their money.”

Paying $65 is like adopting a performance, he said.

A donation at any level reserves two free tickets to a single performance of choice and their names in the programs for each play, and those who donate $65 get special recognition.

For the three plays being offered this spring, the royalty and production costs will be more than $900.

For information or to donate, call Hearn at DHS, 782-5136.