Reynolds junior leads actors in their spring production

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MICHELLE CARD - Tabitha Card, center, a Reynolds High School junior, directed her classmates in their spring production of Murderous Crossings.

When Tabitha Card learned the spring play at Reynolds High School was in jeopardy, she couldn’t sit back.

April 1, Laurie Martin-Cohn, longtime Reynolds theater director and Card’s beloved mentor, officially retired. No one was scheduled to fill her role.

A junior, Card grew up performing in East County productions and knew she had to dig right in.

“I’ve been in shows every single year, no matter what it is,” Card, 17, said. “It’s what I do. It’s what I want to go to college for.”

Card researched plays, found an interactive, Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, wrote in for the rights and purchased “Murderous Crossing.” Without even having the play in her hands, Card held auditions and cast the show.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MICHELLE CARD - Card has been acting since age 5 and has worked with longtime Reynolds director Laurie Martin-Cohn many of those years. Martin-Cohn retired April 1 after 23 years.

Originally, the cast and crew thought they’d have a month and a half to prepare, but because of concert scheduling conflicts, they were told by school administrators they had three weeks.

Pulling off the play seemed like it would be a Herculean effort. By the end of rehearsals, Card was spending 12-hour days at the school, starting with choir in the early morning and ending at 8 p.m. with play practice.

Directing her peers was a huge challenge with all sorts of learning curves, but the show had to go on.

The Monday before the production, everything suddenly came together. Students praised Card for her leadership, with junior Sydni Redmond calling the play one of the best experiences in acting she’d had so far.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MICHELLE CARD - This summer, Card will attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Summer Seminar.

“It was like a miracle had happened,” Card said. “The cast was practically perfect in every way. I could not have been smiling bigger at that rehearsal.”

Amid the play, Card also organized Reynolds’ participation in the state drama competition.

Along with directing a successful high school theater production the last weekend of April, Card has been accepted into the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Summer Seminar.

The prestigious program is offered to high school juniors who will spend two intensive weeks participating in a wide range of activities designed to introduce them to professional theater.

“I’m very proud of her for stepping up and taking the role (as director),” Redmond said. “She’s very talented on-stage and off-stage and I just know from my experiences working with her she will go far.”

An actress since age 5, Card has already amassed an impressive acting resume, with 20 theater productions, two television spots and a film role.

She dreams of attending Carnegie Mellon University, The Boston Conservatory or American Musical and Dramatic Academy and pursuing a career in musical theater performance.

“This is my absolute passion,” Card said.

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