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Rumor has trio of teens add talent to show

Director Joe Theissens students included in cast and crew


by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge drama students Ollie Bergh, Trevon Jensen and Daniel Apsey, back, are part of the cast and crew of Neil Simon's 'Rumors,' directed by Joe Theissen.As director of Lakewood Theatre Company’s current show, “Rumors,” Joe Theissen called in the best of the best to ensure the show was a success. While most of the cast and crew are seasoned veterans of the stage, a few are quite young. What they lack in age, however they more than make up for in talent, enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

Ollie Bergh, Trevon Jensen and Daniel Apsey were handpicked by Theissen for “Rumors” from Lakeridge High School, where Theissen has been drama department head for the past year and a half. Heavily involved with professional theater himself as both an actor and director, Theissen encourages his students to take that step onto the professional stage.

Lakeridge senior Ollie Bergh is cast as Officer Pudney in “Rumors.” Fellow Pacers Daniel Apsey and Trevon Jensen serve as the show’s assistant stage manager and on the run crew, respectively.

Bergh, who has been seen acting and singing on the Lakeridge stage, plans to be a theater or music major at Western Oregon State College next fall.

Aspey already has experience as a stage manager. He served in that capacity for the school’s fall musical and assisting on Pixie Dust Production of “Legally Blonde,” at the Newmark Theater in Portland. He served an internship with Broadway Rose Theater in Tigard and will enroll at Portland State University next fall to study theatre tech and psychology. In “Rumors” he assists the manager with communicating with technical crew and calls cues for lighting and sound effects and coordinates with the run crew for scene changes, among other duties.

Jensen wants to direct. He served as assistant director for “Nerd,” the play presented by members of the freshman and sophomore classes earlier this winter. He plans to attend Portland Community College and then eventually a theater school. In his role as a member of the run crew he performs set changes and other tasks during the show.

Is working on the professional stage any different from working on the high school set?

“The feeling isn’t as intense on the professional stage as at high school,” said Bergh. “In the professional theater you see more cooperation, when they are given notes (by the director), they act on them, where at high school they might argue their motivation with the director. At the same time, Joe tries to treat high school students in the same professional manner and as adults. He has improved our drama productions so much in the year and a half he has been there. It’s phenomenal!”

“Shadowing professionals really helps to see how to improve at the high school level,” said Apsey.

A release from Lakewood Center says that Neil Simon’s comedy “Rumors” is about an anniversary dinner party of Charlie and Myra. When Ken (Darius Pierce) and his wife Chris (Brooke Lynn Calcagno) arrive they find Charlie lying upstairs with a hole in his earlobe and Myra is nowhere to be found.

The help is gone and dinner sits unprepared in the kitchen. The guests decide to cover up the incident but the task is nearly impossible. The wall of secrecy crumbles as more guests arrive, including Claire and Lenny Ganz (Pam Mahon and Jeff Gorham) and therapist Ernie Cusack (Garland Lyons) and his wife, a cooking show hostess named Cookie (Rani Lightle).

By the time Glenn and Cassie Cooper (Brian Williams and Kelly Godell) arrive, the scandal stew is boiling in the living room as Cookie gamely prepares dinner in the kitchen.

Police officers, including Bergh as Office Pudney, get confused by the imaginative but hilariously conflicting explanations of what has happened.

“I’ve done a lot of theater but this is my first professional show,” said Bergh. “It is hilarious!”

“Rumors” runs through April 14. Tickets are $30 for adults, $27 for seniors. Discounts are offered for students and groups. Call the box office at 503-635-3901 to purchase tickets.

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