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Botany, blossoms and brogues take the stage this november

Barlow, Corbett, Gresham high schools staging popular plays


East County high school students will be entertaining audiences over the next few weeks in three plays that have become audience favorites over the years.by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO COURTESY OF AT HOME PLATE PHOTOGRAPHY - Tommy Albright, played by Austin Joseph, falls in love with Fiona McClaren, played by Cajsa Strommer, in Gresham High School's upcoming production of 'Brigadoon.'

Here’s a rundown of each production with insights from the actors in them.

“Little Shop of Horrors”

Barlow High School will stage the zany comedic musical, from Nov. 9-18, about a flower shop plant hungry for human blood and the love between shop employees Seymour Krelborn and the beautiful, but ditzy, Audrey.

Madison Stevens, 16, a Barlow junior, plays Audrey, whom she describes as “really insecure about herself, very vulnerable.”

Stevens says it’s the hardest role she’s played of the seven musicals in which she’s acted. In particular, she had to work on talking like Audrey with a New York City accent, but has studied recordings from the movie version of the play as well as New York characters in such musicals as “Guys and Dolls.”

“I think the music is fantastic, and the set is amazing, and the plant is so great,” Stevens says. “It’s definitely comedic and has a lot of humor and fun.”

The musical appeals to her desire to belt out tunes, she adds.

“Singing’s always been my passion for as long as I can remember,” she says. “For me practices are just so much fun, and I love every minute. Just bonding with everyone is such a great experience.”

“Flowers for Algernon”

Algernon is a laboratory mouse who undergoes surgery to increase his intelligence, a process also undertaken by Charlie Gordon, the first human test subject for the surgery. The poignant play traces the mouse’s and Gordon’s progression to high intelligence and back again.

Corbett Children’s Theater is tackling this play, which will challenge audiences to look at developmental disabilities and other issues in a variety of ways, says Logan McGown, 17, a Corbett High senior.

“It definitely hits on the point that just because (Gordon) has a low IQ doesn’t mean he’s not a person,” McGown says.

The young man worked at a Bible camp this summer and met a camper with developmental disabilities, whom he credits for inspiring him in his role as Gordon.

“It kind of helps to draw on (the camper’s) personality.”

McGown adds that he had to wrestle with his speaking in order to portray Charlie.

“At one point I have to slur my language and be slower,” he says. “Then he’s talking huge words that I don’t use all the time.”

“Brigadoon”

For one day every 100 years, the mythical, invisible Scottish village of Brigadoon becomes visible, allowing it to be seen and visited by outsiders. Tommy Albright, a visitor from New York City, falls in love with one of the villagers, Fiona McClaren.

In the Gresham High School production, Albright must choose between marrying his socialite fiancé in America or following his heart and staying in Brigadoon forever with Fiona, notes Austin Joseph, the senior playing Tommy.

“He does care about her but he’s just not sure it’s the right thing to do,” Joseph says. “I think he just wants to be happy, and he believes in this true love thing ... He’s kind of almost a dreamer but he has a New York way about him.”

Joseph thinks audiences will enjoy the production, which features authentic Scottish dancing, a point echoed by Cajsa Strommer, 17, a senior who plays Fiona.

“It’s a very sweet fun romantic play with lots of different cultural involvement,” she says, adding she was surprised how easily she learned to talk in a Scottish accent. Strommer says she likes playing such a distinctive character.

“She is a proud Scottish woman and as a 17 year old American girl I’ve never had the opportunity to play that type of personification.”



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