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Union Drama brings classics alive alive in Matt Auditorium

November 2, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

The Union Drama Department will bring the imagination and color of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz to the stage for their fall performance on Saturday, Nov. 3 and Sunday, Nov. 4 at the high school.

"The reason we're doing two play is basically to give enough students the opportunity to be on stage," Drama Director Dean Bostian said. "In years past when I've had just one big play, often times there weren't enough parts to fulfill for the 50 to 70 students we have try out. By putting these two plays together, it gives many more people the chance to get parts out of the script rather than me making up lines for them."

By performing two classics and splitting the students between the plays, Bostian feels he's had a much easier time getting students in for practices. According to Bostian, each student practices two nights a week that fits better around school work and other activities, also giving Bostian more chances to work individually with performers.

Article Photos

Alice (Olivia Sash) and Cheshire Cat (Emma Harris) during the rehearsals on Tuesday night to prepare for their big weekend.

"I have strong females that are seniors this year, so I felt I had to find plays with strong female roles as well," Bostian said. "Alice in Wonderland was a given with Alice, the Queen of Hearts and all the different characters that can be male or female. With the Wizard of Oz, we have more of a senior-ladden cast there for an opportunity to put those students who've worked hard and been loyal into prominent parts and go out with a bang as a senior."

Included in the cast of Oz is Noah Damro as the Cowardly Lion, Carter Spore as the Tin Man, Levi Gray as the Scarecrow and Veronica Redman is playing Dorothy. Bostian implemented an intriguing "little bit of switch" for this production in having Zeke Seuser playing the Wicked Witch.

"Zeke came in to audition for the part and did a fantastic job with the voices and cackling," Bostian said. "It just made sense to go with him. I know my seniors and I want to give them the opportunity to shine in their final performance. These came together well because each of the students playing a main character could really be that character. It made it so much easier with casting."

For Damro, this is not his first go with the character of the Cowardly Lion. The senior previously played him in middle school, but this time Damro is thrilled to add more physicality and range for a role he believes he's suited for.

"I'm a bombastic person and the Cowardly Lion is the main form of comedy relief in the play, so I was likely the natural fit for this role," Damro said. "He's obviously a huge scaredy cat who unintentionally makes a fool of himself."

Damro feels this choice of play was good for the stage,due to the Wizard of Oz requiring a minimal set. The chemistry between Carter, Levi and Damro in the roles meld together because of years doing performing together. Folks should prepare for quite a few funny scenes feature the three together.

"Everyone knows these shows and we can't give audiences the same boring play," Bostian said. "We've been hard at work to make the most colorful and impressive set we can. The kids have their lines down well. The visuals were the big thing we're working on for these plays."

Preparing the set fell to everyone in the cast of both plays, including Emma Harris in the Alice in Wonderland act. Now only does the junior feel it gives a splash of color to the performance, it has brought the cast closer together.

"I believe the most fun I've had would be working on set because we all like to just joke around with each other while we work to get it done," Harris said. I've loved getting to work with everyone, we're all just one big family in the end."

Speaking of humor, a the familiar smile of the Cheshire Cat will shine across Harris' face as she plays the iconic character, along with Olivia Sash playing Alice. Much like Damro, Harris believes her own personality made her right for the part.

"The Cheshire Cat scares Alice a lot, but we give her a lot of hints of where everything is along the way," Harris said. "I enjoy the character and having Alice rely on the Cheshire Cat for everything. I get to be really sassy with this character, which is part of my personality."

Compared to the cast of Wizard of Oz, performers for Alice in Wonderland are younger and still learning the ropes under Bostian. However, that fact doesn't mean they are any less fun to coach up.

"Because so many of them are younger, they are enthusiastic and want to do as much as they can," Bostian said. "Many of them worked hard on putting the set together. They've taken ownership of the play. Mrs. Carlson and myself haven't had to do much. We point them in the right direction and they go. They make me so proud and the future looks bright with these kids."

With seniors leading the way, the cast has worked to overcome conflicting schedules, memorizing lines and preparing sets, all leading up to the moment when curtain call comes.

I have loved working with this group of seniors, they all have great leadership skills," Emma Harris said. "They're kind and respectful. When you ask them for help they're going to help right away! I've developed a bond with some of them throughout play."

Because the elementary schools do not have theatre programs, fall plays are normally geared towards young children to persuade them to join the drama department in future years. In fact, kids can enjoy trick-or-treating with the casts before the plays on Sunday from noon to 1:30 p.m at the school.

"Kids will love it along with the trick-or-treat on Sunday," Damro said. "These plays are colorful, simple to understand and exciting for their audience."

The cast will host the trick-or-treat and photo-ops until doors open for the show on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Again, showtimes are Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. with doors at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m., doors at 1:30 p.m.



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