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Catch a show this week at Lakeridge

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge students Quinn Milionis, senior, left, and Sam Wolf, sophomore, rehearse I Think You Think I Love You, directed by Jesse Johnson.An untold number of students in the last several decades have participated in school plays, but most of them were in the cast or crew, not sitting in a director’s chair.

At Lakeridge High, it’s a tradition with seniors directing the annual one act plays. A three-day series kicks off today in the school’s black box theater, featuring the directorial stylings of Shelby Bylsma with “The Philadelphia,” Jesse Johnson with “Blithe Spirit” and James Wells with “I Think You Think I Love You.” All three plays are performed each night.

“I’ve been in theater for a long time, and I always looked forward to directing (a one act play) when I was of the age to do so because my brother had actually directed one when he was in high school,” Bylsma said.

She chose her play because she enjoyed the premise of New Yorkers chatting in a New York diner. She said she especially loves the part where one of the characters, Mark, is having a bad day, and one of his friends tells him it’s because metaphysically he’s in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia “is supposedly an awful place to be.”

Wells said he chose “I Think You Think I Love You” because it’s “lighthearted and funny while still being dramatic” and is something that his actors could learn in a short period of time. They’ve been rehearsing about three days per week in the last month, and he also had to build a door to use as a prop.

“I think we’re doing fine, but it’s been a little stressful,” Wells said.

Johnson said he selected “Blithe Spirit” because it’s one of his favorite plays, although in hindsight he realized he picked a complicated work and might have chosen a shorter one. He has had to winnow it down.

He said he’s learned from the experience, including that it’s best not to directly tell actors what to do but to guide them toward their own decisions on how to perform. A fellow student who also has directed plays at Lakeridge offered some advice.

“Another friend of mine, Isaac Lee, compared direction to gardening, because you can’t make the plants grow, you can only make an environment that is conducive to growth,” Johnson said. “I also think directing forces the director to analyze why fiction is written the way it is, and what’s necessary to (create) a fully developed story arc.”


By Jillian Daley
Reporter
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