With the school shutdown, David Douglas’ play is televised

Here’s the story of how their production of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was seen by many; some well outside the Hazelwood neighborhood …

-1 During the live-streamed production of “Sense and Sensibility” from the David Douglas High School Horner Auditorium Theater sage, Amelia Parish (playing a gossip), Julia Archer (portraying Elinor Dashwood), Fabiola Ceniceros (playing Mrs. Dashwood), Ethan Blair (playing Edward), Sarah Muller (playing Marianne Dashwood), Marianne, Mrs. Dashwood, and the gossips all encourage Edward to court Elinor.

Editor’s note: Because the school was on “lockdown”, due to Novel COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, an “insider” covered this story for East Portland News, and wrote this fine article.

By Gracie Del Rosario of THE HIGHLANDER
Photos by Oliver McCurnin

Amidst the pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the show must go on resolved the David Douglas High School’s drama students. Thespians live-streamed the final two shows of their winter production of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility” on March 13 to a collective audience of 300+ screens.

By Governor Kate Brown’s order on March 12, all events that exceeded 250+ participants were to be canceled or postponed for at least the coming month. Her order also included, at the time, all “non-essential school-associated gatherings” even when schools remained open.

Robyn Banasky (a gossip) sneaks closer to the “action” by playing a tree, is shocked by a scandalous revelation.

The news shocked students and staff early Thursday morning, and the pain set in heavily for the students awaiting to perform the final shows of “Sense and Sensibility”.

“Everyone had worked so hard on the show, and to not be able to share it was a huge disappointment,” remarked Director David Rosenbaum. “I was especially upset for our understudy cast, which had been working hard since our first rehearsal in December, and would not be able to perform at all – as well as for the families of the seniors who didn’t get a chance to see the show on the first weekend it was presented.

“For a lot of our seniors this is their last time on stage at DDHS and it means a lot to them and their families,” Rosenbaum reflected.

Three shows remained in the performance of this DDHS show – March 12 and 13, by the standard cast – and March 15 to be performed by the understudy cast.

In this scene, Jason Yelton (John Dashwood), Julia Archer (Elinor Dashwood), Sarah Muller (Marianne Dashwood), Sydney Gallaher (Fanny), Konner Rudisill (Mrs. Ferrars), Ethan Blair (Robert Ferrars), and Robyn Banasky (Lucy Steele) are concerned, when Marianne becomes distraught about the nasty treatment that she and her sister had received at a party.

Determined to find a way to present those productions, directors and theatre instructors Michael Givler and David Rosenbaum and technical director Roxy Mojica conferred about an idea to live-stream the two final performances of the show – one with the standard cast and the other with the understudies.

They quickly contacted Hamill, the author of the adaption, in an attempt to acquire the rights to stream the show online. Graciously, they were given the permission by Hamill herself, and the thespians wasted no time in starting preparations for streaming their standard-cast show on Friday, and the understudy showing on Sunday.

“To me, within all the stress of everything going on, it was a relief and a blessing,” commented senior Julia Archer. “We didn’t have to stress about sickness within the audience, and we were still able to perform! It felt like we were on the set of a movie! I am so thankful for the experience, and hope I get to do it again someday.”

Julia Archer (Elinor Dashwood), Sarah Muller (Marianne Dashwood), Marianne, and Elinor argue over an inappropriate gift given to Marianne by her love interest.

On Friday, however, came the news of the entire campus being locked down on Saturday – and the school moved both showings to Friday, back-to-back, with support from DDHS Principal John Bier.

The performances were seen collectively on 300+ screens via the DDHS YouTube channel, and lowered the curtain on the production of “Sense and Sensibility” ending on a high note.

Patrons can still donate to the performing arts program at DDHS with checks directed to the school, c/o David Rosenbaum or Michael Givler. Both are still finding ways to gain financial support, after the loss of ticket revenue from closing night; so, all donations are appreciated, to benefit future student opportunities.

Support them by sending a check to:
DDHS Theater
c/o David Rosenbaum or Michael Givler
1001 SE 135th Avenue
Portland OR 97233.

Editors note:
All who watched the play, live-streamed that evening, were treated to a delightful viewing and entertainment experience. This was due, in part, to the expert work of their camera operator Josh Gray, who also took care of all the streaming and audio.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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