Patti RasmussenThe SignalPauline HarteRichard RiouxTim WhyteLeon Worden

It's showtime at our valley's high schools

Patti Rasmussen · November 1, 1997

"Art and music are the drugs of choice for millions of kids. If we expect them to just say no to a chemical high, we must recognize the healing alternative; their own creativity. Demand and support the real anti-drug program -- Arts in Education."

-- Fred Babb

By now I think the drama teachers at our local high schools know how much I value their commitment to their students. I have been to all four high school plays in the past and have never walked away disappointed. The following is a sample of what to expect from them this season.

Canyon High always includes children's theatre as part of its drama experience. This fall they continue this tradition by offering "Charlotte's Web" under the direction of drama teacher Marilyn Pilkey.

Within two days the fourteen performances were sold out, making it possible for 1,680 elementary school children to be exposed to live theatre. Pilkey believes in the magic of live theatre. "You know that if anything happens, you are the only people that see it," said Pilkey. "Every show is a little different, even for the actors. To see a play live with human bodies is completely different than seeing images on a flat screen."

Canyon High charges the schools $1.00 per student, but Ms. Pilkey has made arrangements for those schools that are strapped for money. "It only covers our expenses -- $1,000.00 for lighting and $1,000 for royalties," Pilkey explained. The public is invited to attend "Charlotte's Web" on November 22 with curtain at 10 a.m. and then again at 2 p.m. Admission runs $3 for adults and $2 for students.

An evening of one-acts will be performed January 20 through 23, 1998. And because Ms. Pilkey would like her seniors to experience some Shakespeare before they graduate, "A Midsummer's Night Dream" will be performed in the spring.

The Canyon High Drama Department is still in desperate need of a container (somewhat like the disaster sheds) for storing costumes and props. Surely there is some civic-minded, theatre-buff individual that can help them out? If you are that person, please call Marilyn Pilkey at (805) 252-6110.

At Hart High the drama department will be performing "Arsenic and Old Lace" on November 14 and 15 and again on the 21st and 22nd. Ever since the loss of the Hart auditorium after the Northridge Earthquake of January, 1994, the drama students have been performing at various locations including the back yards of students' homes and Cal Arts. Last year, under the supervision of drama booster president Jim Sudik, the drama department converted a classroom into a "black box" theatre.

The new theatre space seats 125 and debuted with the performance of "Our Town" last spring. The new drama teacher, Mr. Craig Coon, guarantees that the audience will be pleased with this performance. The drama boosters are offering their patrons a chance to purchase season tickets. For $15, you get four tickets and your name will be listed as a "Patron of the Arts" in the programs for the two shows this year. They are also soliciting local businesses to place ads. Please call (805) 254-5794 for more information.

"Arsenic and Old Lace" stars Eliza Hart and Danica Sudik as the Brewster sisters, who poison single gentlemen, thinking are performing a "community service." Show times are at 8:00 p.m.

At Saugus High, Mr. Trevor Best will be directing his students in "See How They Run" on January 8 through 17. The drama department is fortunate to have Studio E, a 300-plus-seat converted multi-purpose room. Best's drama students will perform "Music Man" in the spring of '98.

Valencia High is in its third year and the drama department is up and running with "The Saga of the Prospector's Daughter" (aka "She Was Only a Miner's Minor") with performances on December 3, 4, 5 and 6. More on these two drama productions next week.

What I've learned from theater is that these students and their teachers work hard building sets, designing costumes and memorizing lines. But these kids are learning a lot more than acting. They are learning self-assurance and commitment. Sometimes they don't know that because they enjoy what they do.

"Music...Marching...Fun...Food" -- for all of us who enjoy a good marching band you'll not be disappointed if you attend Rampage '97, which is in full swing today at College of the Canyons' Cougar Stadium. Hosted by the William S. Hart Marching Regiment and Pageantry, the 14th Annual Field Show has become one of the premiere events on the calendar for many high schools throughout California.

Twenty-five high schools are strutting their stuff on the field of competition, performing their half time shows. You will also have the opportunity to watch some truly wonderful dance and flag teams perform their intricate routines (note to Tim Myers: this is the place to go to compare your Minnesota school).

All four local high schools are featured. Admission is $5.00 at the gate and the show starts at 11:00 a.m. today, concluding at approximately 7:00 p.m. Plan to spend the whole day there as there will be plenty of food and fun.

Arts in education is alive and well. Let's get out there and support these hard-working kids. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

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Happy Birthday to my second son, Adam. Eighteen and now an adult! Whew! Keep up the good work.

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Patti Rasmussen's commentaries appear in The Signal on Saturdays.

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