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Twality play shows big payoff

Twality Middle School has 65 students participating in the musical production of 'Anne of Green Gables'
by: Jaime Valdez, STRONG 
COMMITTMENT — Twality Middle School has 65 students participating in its musical production of “Anne of Green Gables” next weekend.

TIGARD - The hours are long, the schedules hectic and the dialogue and dance routines aren't always that easy to memorize. But the payoff is always big for the Twality Middle School drama productions.

Musical Director Katy Thielen estimates that the annual Twality student play usually raises roughly $10,000 through ticket sales every year. Co-director Linda Talluto, who has had a hand in helping put on plays at Twality for the last 39 years, is eager to point out that the plays 'are totally supported by ticket sales.'

But aside from the self-sustaining nature of the productions, Thielen and Talluto say commitment is the real payoff for Twality's plays.

'It's a very big commitment for students,' Thielen said. 'And we just don't lose very many kids (during the course of the production) at all.'

The productions receive no monetary support from the school district. Instead, Thielen and Talluto are excited when they talk about the parent support and the students' commitment to the plays.

'(The students) learn that things aren't instant,' Talluto said as she noted the long hours for rehearsals leading up to the March shows. Performances for 'Anne of Green Gables' are set for March 8, 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tigard High School auditorium. Tickets are $8 apiece and can be purchased at the door. However, the Friday and Saturday performances tend to sell out, according to Thielen, and so tickets can be bought in advance at the Twality Middle School front office.

Directing a cast and crew of 65 middle-school students all at once is down right chaotic at times. But for Thielen and Talluto, it's tradition. The two have worked together for 14 years on the student productions at Twality Middle School. And this year's presentation of 'Anne of Green Gables' is like many of the other productions put on by the school throughout the years. The rehearsal hours are long - students have been practicing since November - and the preparation time for last minute details always seems to keep the co-directors up into the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning.

But the payoff is big and worth it, said Thielen and Talluto.

'I know some of you forgot your shoes,' Thielen said during a dress rehearsal earlier this week. She directed her voice to the middle school's stage crowded with boys in slacks and sweaters and girls in ankle-length dresses. With a wave of a hand, a furrowed brow and shouted directions, Thielen and Talluto moved the students across the stage.

Their movements are 'bunchy' as Thielen tries to spread the groups about the stage. But they are smiling. Thielen cannot wait for the first night on the Tigard high School stage.

'The very first time when the audience applauds, it's like a light comes on (for the students), and it's like 'Bingo,'' Thielen said.