‘Shining Lives’ opens soon at DDHS Theater

Find out why the main characters of this unique dramatic presentation at David Douglas High School truly shine – in more ways than one could imagine …

Painting the set for the upcoming production of THESE SHINING LIVES are David Douglas High Stagecraft students Labreia Myricka and Juliya Andriyets.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A touching drama, presented in a special setting, called THESE SHINING LIVES will open for two weekend runs on March 9 in the David Douglas High School (DDHS) Howard Horner Performing Arts Center.

While it is presented in the Horner Auditorium, for the first time ever this presentation will be presented “Black Box” style – that is, in a small theater setting – with the actors and audience situated right on the auditorium’s stage.

Helping student actors work out an action scene for the upcoming show is DDHS Theater Instructor and the show’s Executive Director, David Rosenbaum.

“We do have a Black Box Theater downstairs, but it’s very limited in many ways,” conceded DDHS Theater Instructor and the show’s Executive Director, David Rosenbaum, observing that the main stage area is much more spacious, and has access to better lighting and technical stagecraft.

“We’re presenting THESE SHINING LIVES in this setting to help the audience feel intimately connected with the characters,” Rosenbaum explained.

“At a point in the story, characters start talking directly to the audience,” Rosenbaum told East Portland News. “So, we wanted have the audience ‘up close and personal’ in this conversation.”

Rehearsing this scene, four friends and co-workers, portrayed by DDHS student actors ‘Apikale Fouch (as Pearl Payne), Elizabeth Ursaki (as Charlotte Purcell), Julia Archer (as Francis O’Connell), and Eliza Fitch (as Catherine Donahue) are relaxing on the beach, having one of the best days of their lives.

About the story
THESE SHINING LIVES is a story, set in the late 1920s, about four women who get good-paying jobs at the Radium Dial Company, painting the faces of wristwatches with a glow-in-the-dark compound.

While their company supervisors tell the workers that the radium they’re handling is safe, when their hands start glowing in the dark, they begin to question that.

“One of the reasons we selected this contemporary play, written in 2008, is that it has wonderful roles for female actors,” Rosenbaum said.

“Thematically, it deals with what many of our students consider to be topical issues – such as who decides which stories are told, and what information is released in the news,” explained Rosenbaum.

After their health diagnosis, co-workers Pearl Payne, Catherine Donahue, Charlotte Purcell, and Francis O’Connell, get the bad news from Dr. Dalitsch (portrayed by Ethan Blair).

Show plays with double casting
THESE SHINING LIVES is written for a cast of eight actors. “But, we’ve ‘double-cast’ the show, allowing a total of 16 actors the experience of performing in this small ensemble play, and allowing two student directors, Olivia VanSlyke and Amber Holub, to work with the cast members,” Rosenbaum said.

All of the shows will be produced with the assistance of 12 stage technicians; the casts will perform on alternate evenings.

“With the audience seating up on the stage, each performance can only accommodate a maximum of 90 audience members, so be sure to get your tickets early – and consider seeing two performances of this great play,” Rosenbaum said, reminding of the two different casts involved.

Catherine Donahue and Tom Donahue (he’s played by Trevor Brummett) have tense moments, after she tells him she’s been poisoned by radium.

THESE SHINING LIVES opens on March 9 at 7:30 p.m., and continues on the evenings of March 10 and 11 and on March 16, 17, 18. Or, see afternoon matinee performances on March 12 and 19 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $8/students or seniors; $10/adults. The Box Office is open Monday, Wednesday and Fridays on school days from 3:00 until 5:30 p.m. and before each show; call (503) 261-8270. Or, to reserve your tickets (and pay for them at the Box Office): CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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