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Three drama students at DHS direct plays

Staff Reports

Three advanced drama students at Douglas High School will soon have the opportunity to see their “babies” get up and walk. They have been working for the past few weeks on one-act comedies, and the time to raise the curtain is drawing near.

“My biggest fear is that the audience won’t think the play is funny,” says student director Nicole Podlas. “I know there are things in the play that are really funny, but I’m worried about making sure we get those things across to the audience.”

Advanced drama teacher Rod Hearn agrees.

“That is always a concern with comedies,” he said. “You just hope that you’ve given the playwright a fair chance to communicate his play with your audience.”

Monique Baumann, a student director who has experience directing a small one-act play for her Spanish class, believes that the biggest challenge in her work has been getting everyone to work collaboratively.

“It’s hard to take everyone’s different suggestions and viewpoints and try to fit them into the play,” says Baumann. “It has been harder than I thought it would be.”

“I really like directing maybe it’s the power thing,” jokes Jessica Mitchell, the third student director. “Actually, I really like the part about establishing a vision. I think next time I direct, I’d like to write the script.”

Hearn says that the most fulfilling part of the process for him is that the project creates more empathy among upper level drama students. They have a clearer understanding of just what it takes to direct a play, including all the technical concerns and how to keep a cast motivated and working hard.

“Budgeting time and working well with different personalities are skills these students will use in their lives,” says Hearn. “And I know that next time we work on a play, the students will be more focused and will work harder because they all know, actors and directors alike, how difficult it can be to pull it all together.”

The first of the three plays this year is “Drive-In,” directed by Baumann. The play is a contest-winning script that looks at three carloads of young adults at an outdoor theatre.

Mitchell’s play, “A Pair of Lunatics,” is a classic competition play which shares with the audience what happens when a young man and young woman meet, with each led to believe the other is insane.

The last play, “Deliver Us Not! (or Birth, Where is Thy Sting?),” directed by Podlas, is about three fetuses representing three different philosophies as they try to come to terms with their impending due-dates, sharing the cramped space in a womb and debating life-after-birth. “Deliver Us Not”may not be appropriate for young audiences.

The plays run Jan. 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. in the DHS drama room. Tickets will be available at the door at a cost of $5 for adults and $4 for students, teachers and seniors. The doors open at 6:30 p.m., and patrons are urged to arrive early because seating is limited.

For more information, call Hearn at 782-5136.