Directing Quartet affords students the chance to develop leadership skills and compassion

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Anni Behren and Noah Livingston play two people who meet in a cafe in 'All in the Timing.'Dating, death, parenthood and “Romeo and Juliet” auditions gone wrong are the topics of “Quartet,” four one-act plays showing next week at Lake Oswego High School.

The annual one-act tradition calls for seniors to direct. Students often produce original works for classmates to perform, and high schoolers also are in charge of lights, sound and costumes.

Almost 30 students from April 17-20 are banding together to present “All in the Timing,” “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors,” “I Can’t Think of It Right Now” and “Untitled” in the school’s Black Box Theatre.

“Timing,” which Darby Hennessey directs, is “about a couple trying to get through the vagaries of dating, and fate intervenes,” said drama and health teacher Bob McGranahan.

“Bad Auditions” spotlights a quirky series of auditions for a community theater’s production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” McGranahan said. Sarah Sutton directs.

“I Can’t Think of It,” directed by Zipporah Hingi, centers around “what happens to the brains of married couples after they’ve had their first child,” McGranahan said. “You can’t remember anything.”by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Natalie Arakelian is the bell ringer in 'All in the Timing.'

Associated student body president Jacob Cho penned “Untitled,” a bittersweet story of a dying man saying farewell to his wife and two adult sons. Anna Ketterling will sit in the director’s chair.

McGranahan first drew the curtain on the one acts when he arrived at Lake Oswego High 14 years ago. He said it’s a common format for high schools because “it’s a great way to tell stories,” although not every school would let seniors be in charge of their own show.

The opportunity affords students the chance to develop leadership and organizational skills. Drama students in general develop a deeper understanding of compassion, McGranahan said.

“You have to not only see the play, you have to see if from the character’s point of view,” he said. “It teaches you empathy because of that.”

Lake Oswego High senior Voni Kengla plays the casting director in “Bad Auditions” and said her character isn’t all she seems.

“The first thing that my character does is she’s talking on the phone, and she’s yelling at her assistant to keep moving,” Kengla said. “But as you move on through the script, you find out she’s not really mean and snarky. She’s doing this because she really loves theater.”

Kengla said McGranahan is a great teacher and role model.

“He’s just so energetic, and it’s just a joy to come into class every day,” she said. “And, not only is he a teacher, he’s someone you can go up and talk to.”

Parker Hansen, who plays two actors in “Bad Auditions,” joined the drama program in his freshman year and says it’s a great way to get involved and meet people.

“I am a senior this year, and I have had some really great experiences and met some of my closest friends in the program,” Hansen REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Miles Rigby and Voni Kengla audition actors in 'Bad Auditions by Bad Actors.'

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