Two one-act plays featured at third annual fall high school drama presentation | SierraSun.com
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Two one-act plays featured at third annual fall high school drama presentation

Jamie Ball

The Tahoe-Truckee High School’s Student Performing Actors Guild (SPAG) will present its third annual fall dramatic show Nov. 21-22.

The show scheduled at the high school auditorium is composed of two one-act plays: the Reno-Tahoe premieres of “The Time Dance,” by Rachel Lepell, and David Ives’ “Words, Words, Words.”

They will be directed by TTHS Fine Arts teacher Merri McKee, and produced by Kathie Brown and Steve Coniglio.

Proceeds benefit SPAG to fund scholarships, field trips and to further develop student interest in the dramatic arts.

“The Time Dance,” written by Chabot College Drama Chair Rachel Lepell, is a play about how one young woman, Liza (played by Kirsten Benites) copes with her discovery of an HIV positive diagnosis. It explores how she must come to terms with a “new life” after this news.

Her personal journey also affects her two primary relationships the one with her best girlfriend, Rea (played by Angela Hauser) and her boyfriend, Gavin (played by Mike Miller). All of the kids in her circle of friends are also affected; they confront feelings, ideas, and prejudices that some of them didn’t even know existed.

This group of friends are portrayed by Kate Nasher-Veske, Dani Inversin, Tyler Kempf, Marc Van Enoo, and Tom Watts. Rounding out “The Time Dance” cast are Nathania Frishman, Jessica Alb, Jessica Candler, Shannon Lupton, Kate Haskins, Lizz Olson, Mimi Lacroix, and Mira Polochko as “a Chorus” – commenting on and emphasizing the cast’s thoughts and actions.

“‘The Time Dance’ does not attempt to ‘teach’ about AIDS,” says playwright Lepell. “It is not prescriptive or preachy. This, I believe is one of its strengths and what distinguishes it from other ‘AIDS plays.'”

She adds, “Time is not traditionally linear in the play. Several scenes, or part of scenes repeat themselves all of these time shifts are resonant within the character of Liza, who faces some new discoveries about time itself. I am continually interested in what I call, ‘pushing the poetic’ onto the stage.”

On opening night, Nov. 21, the playwright will be available for an after-the-show discussion, talking briefly about the how and why the play came to be, and fielding questions from interested parties.

SPAG is currently planning an educational tour of “The Time Dance” to North Tahoe High School early in December as part of an “AIDS Awareness Week” to be presented throughout the school district.

“Touring has always been a wish for SPAG,” says director McKee, “But our previous productions of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and ‘The Glass Menagerie’ used sets that could not easily be moved. This show is designed for travel.”

Once again, set and prop construction, as well as the light plot, was handled by the TTHS Technical/Theater Class, under the supervision of Dave Green.

“This play could not have been done without the support of TTHS principal Dennis LeBlanc” says co-producer Kathie Brown.

“He read the play, and gave us the go-ahead.” Co-producer Coniglio adds, “It took courage and trust to allow ‘The Time Dance’ to be done. We hope we can make him proud of our efforts.”

The second one-act of the evening, “Words, Words, Words,” is a comedy selection from David Ives’ critically acclaimed Off-Broadway collection, “All In The Timing.” It recalls the philosophical adage that three monkeys typing into infinity will sooner or later produce “Hamlet;” and asks: what would these monkeys talk about while sitting at their typewriters? The monkeys will be played by Michele Fernhoff as Kafka, James Folsom as Milton, and Keith Hall as Swift.

“There is no way the audience can be prepared for the humor of ‘Words, Words, Words,'” says McKee, “it’s both accessible and off-the-wall at the same time.”

Performances tart at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for students, and $8 for adults. They will be available at the door, or in advance at Four Seasons Flowers and Gifts, in Old Gateway, Truckee. For ticket information, call 587-4973; or 582-1858.


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