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Vocal rehearsal.
November features theatrical fun posted on 11/01/2017

Sandy High School’s (SHS) new drama teacher and director, Colin Murray, spent about six weeks last school year getting acquainted with the students and the department. This year, for the school’s first production and the first show under his direction, Murray wanted something happy and family friendly. Enter Gilbert and Sullivan’s, “The Pirates of Penzance.”

“It’s such an upbeat, fun fantastical story,” Murray said. “The students have been doing a fantastic job tackling complex music.”

Murray, who graduated from Sandy High School in the 1990s, worked on the show once before as a designer for the Gresham High School production in 2004. But thanks to the capabilities of SHS’s theater and the different student population he’s casting from, Murray noted this production is very different.

“It’s been fun and interesting to design it again and tackle it again,” he said, noting that in this production he cast the police force entirely as women. “We have a lot of great, comical actresses here.”

Seniors Dagan Godfrey and Charlie Andrade, both 17, play the romantic leads, Frederic and Mabel, respectively. The two veterans of the SHS stage noted that the story is all over the place, with the main story concerning Frederic being an apprentice on a pirate ship, which he can’t leave until he turns 21. Unfortunately, he was born on a leap year day.

“It’s really stupid goofy and I love it,” Godfrey said.

Andrade, who will attend Willamette University next fall and intends to study choir and performance, noted that she was impressed at the talented students that came out to audition for the production, both as actors and musicians.

“We have a lot of talent, I was surprised at how many people came from beyond (the acting program),” she said. “I’m really excited to see how it pulls together on stage.

Murray noted that he’s been impressed with the school’s facilities, which are an upgrade over the theater space at the former high school, the Pioneer Building, but that he also had a level of familiarity with the new space thanks to student teaching with former drama teacher Chris Harris during the new high school’s first year being open.

“It’s so fantastic to have this space that is so multi functional and big,” said Murray, who received his BA from Willamette University and his MFA in Directing from the University of Portland. “It gives room to grow.”

“It’s been a really fantastic experience so far,” Murray added. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life. Teaching all day, then doing rehearsal, work parties on Saturdays.”

Sandy High School Drama presents “The Pirates of Penzance,” book and lyrics by William Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan, at 7 p.m. Nov. 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18, at 37400 SE Bell Street in Sandy.

Festival seating will be available, no reservations, and tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. For more information, call 503-668-8011, ext. 7313.

Sandy offers gentle comedy

Tobias Andersen, director of the Sandy Actors Theatre’s November production of “Heroes,” notes that while the play’s author, Gerald Sibleyras, may not be a household name, the person who translated it may possibly be the “greatest living playwright.” That would be Tom Stoppard, whose writings include the movie “Shakespeare in Love” and plays such as “Arcadia” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”

“It’s his translation that I think has given it a sly humor,” Andersen said.

Set in August, 1959, the comedy centers on three men in a home for retired military men located somewhere in France, and a plot they devise to make an escape. Andersen noted the show is not a slapstick-type comedy with slamming doors, but something more subtle.

“It’s a very gentle comedy, and very human; you really understand these guys when it’s over,” he said. “The humor comes out in that they’re just not capable of doing it (escaping), but they’re totally oblivious to the situation.”

Andersen previously performed in another production of the show at the Coho Theater in Portland, but noted that every actor brings different experiences to each role and that a benefit of watching live theater is seeing the different interpretations.

“It’s already markedly different (from the production he acted in), which is one of the joys of theater,” Andersen said.

SAT presents “Heroes,” by Gerald Sibleyras and translated by Tom Stoppard, from Friday, Nov. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 3, at 39181 Proctor Blvd. (behind Ace Hardware). Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $18 general admission, $15 for students and seniors and $13 for children under 12 (reservations are recommended).

For more information, or to make reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org

By Garth Guibord/MT

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