By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Two tales of forbidden love will bookend McNary High School’s drama season.
“Last year, we spent the year on plays dealing with choice. This year, we are looking at the many faces of love as a theme,” said Dallas Myers, McNary drama director.
First up, in November, will be McNary’s annual musical in the form of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. For the uninitiated, the play is the tale of Belle who is sent to live with the Beast, who is harboring a curse, and the two find themselves drawn together.
“Beauty and the Beast is most faithful to the movie and, when people come see them, they expect to see the movie. With that in mind, we are going big and cartoony and I’m encouraging the whole cast to run to extremes with their characters,” said Myers.
The play’s leads have already been cast. Madi Zuro will tackle the role of Belle, while Taylor Bomar has been cast as Beast. The production will make use of costumes rented from Westview High School, but the Celtics will be building their own sets.
The January play is currently slated as Anatomy of Gray, by Jim Leonard Jr. It is the story of a “medicine man” blown into an 1800s town on the winds of a tornado. At first he is able to heal all ailments, but then the town is struck with a plague and his powers begin to unspool.
“It’s about snake oil salesmen and how people were always looking forward to the visits from these guys because they brought mystery and intrigue, but there are pitfalls of living like that,” Myers said.
Next spring, the drama department will host its annual One Act Festival. After producing two student-written plays earlier this year, Myers said he’s hoping all the one acts will be student written this year.
“We started working on laying the groundwork for the one acts in class last spring and I already have a couple I love if no other ones rise up,” Myers said.
Myers’ playwriting class was already bursting at the seams prior to the beginning of school this year meaning he might be in for some tough choices.
McNary’s thespians will also perform The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. That play is the tale of a dysfunctional family of women and the young girl coming of age at its center.
“Like Beauty and the Beast, it’s one of the top shows performed by high school students in the nation,” Myers said. “At its core, it’s is a beautiful story about Tillie Hunsdorfer who is succeeding despite the odds against her.”
In April, the Celtics will stage Romeo and Juliet for their final play, but Myers is hoping a dash of glitz, à la the recent remake of The Great Gatsby, will give the play a fresh veneer.
“I hope to put it in prohibition Hollywood with either two families of gangsters or one family on the side of the law while the other are outlaws,” Myers said.
With a soundtrack provided by Postmodern Jukebox (Google them, it’s worth it), he thinks the whole play might be set inside a jazz bar.