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Comedy takes center stage

Damascus Christian presents 'The Mouse That Roared' the next two weekends
by: JIM CLARK Professor Kokintz, played by Nathan Whalen, tells Tully Bascombe, played by Caleb Rankin,  he is holding the world’s most powerful bomb in “The Mouse That Roared.” Also shown are Joey Weston as General Snippet, Victoria Runestrand as Debbie and Emily Bedlion as Jill.

Hannah Jeske, 18, a senior at Damascus Christian School, is happy to play Duchess Gloriana in 'The Mouse That Roared' because it gives her a chance to be with her friends.

And berate them.

'I like getting to boss around all the people,' she says. 'The guys I'm working with are really good friends, and it's fun to yell at them.'

Jeske's character is sovereign of the microscopic Alpine country Grand Fenwick, which finds itself nearly bankrupt. Her solution? Declare war on the United States, because when Grand Fenwick loses, the United States will rebuild it just as it did Germany and Japan after World War II.

The play is based on the satirical 1950s novel of the same name, which was later adapted into a 1959 movie starring Peter Sellers. Krista Wierson, who teaches speech and debate at Damascus Christian, is directing the play, which she notes is somewhat different than the famous movie.

'The dialogue is excellent,' she says, adding seven students are on the crew, and 17 students in grades seven through 12 play roles. 'All of the roles have a fair amount of lines, even if they're not the lead.'

'It is so fun,' says Jeske. 'We're laughing the whole time backstage, and we've heard it 10,000 times.'

Caleb Rankin, 17, a senior, plays Field Marshal Tully Bascombe, 'a simple-minded backwoodsman' Gloriana taps to lead an army of longbowmen invading New York City.

Rankin says his least favorite part of the role is 'telling people to march a lot.' However, he does relish the chance to attack U.S. Army Gen. Snippet, and adds he thinks audience will find the play delightful.

'It's creative, and it's really simple, and it's pretty funny actually,' Rankin says.

One of the busiest students on stage is Carrie Osborn, 16, a sophomore who plays three roles - a page, a student and a secretary. Her favorite character is the page, she says.

'I like how official the page is, and it's kind of unlike me,' she says, adding she's worked hard on 'figuring out lines.'

Osborn adds that she's excited simply to be part of the theatrical experience.

'I just like the experience of being backstage and getting to know people,' she says.

If you go

WHO: Damascus

Christian School

WHERE: 14251 S.E. Rust Way, Damascus

PRESENTS: 'The Mouse That Roared'

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 26-28 and May 3-5, and 2 p.m. April 28

COST: $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors

INFO: 503-658-4100