Thursday, October 4, 2007

Theatrical Ambitions for Monroe's Newest Stars

If you haven’t seen any of the SAS Drama Club’s dazzling performances yet, then you’re missing out. But seeing as this talented crew of thespians only formed about a year ago, it’s no surprise that most of the school has yet to hear about them. Having had put out two wonderfully successful productions in the last year, the Club is now working on their third for the Fall 2007 semester. But with such remarkable talent, it’s hard to believe that the group formed from such humble beginnings.

Unfortunately, Monroe had been lacking a drama department, and students longing for theater were left with no options – which is why president and co-founder Jasen Talise established the Club in July of 2006. “To us, something was lacking, and no one was doing anything to provide. So, we went for it.”

Talise, along with a small group of bright-eyed students, found English teacher, SAS Coordinator, and drama buff Dr. Leigh Clark to sponsor and direct the Club. And although they didn’t plan on producing anything until the spring semester, the quick and fortunate start had the crew ready around Halloween. And what better way to celebrate the holiday than with an aptly themed play: The Werewolf’s Curse? With a humble crowd of about 60 people, the dark comedy about lycanthropes, vampires and belly dancers had the actors prepared for bigger things. “In retrospect, the plot was pretty corny and the characters were stereotypically ridiculous, but we made it work.”

With a stronger cast and a bit more experience, the Club decided to take on Georges Feydeau’s The French Have a Word For It, a racy French farce that caused a bit of controversy around the school. “Being centered around love, sex, and scandals,” proclaimed Talise, “it seemed a production too fitting for high school to pass up.” The difficult play featured a 20-character cast, about 3 hours worth of intricate dialogue, and wild, flamboyant characters. And the Club had their own problems to worry about: “It was stressful. It was impossible to get all the cast members that we needed at rehearsals and people wouldn’t memorize their lines! And it didn’t help that one of our main characters told us two weeks before the play that he wouldn’t be able to do the show.” Nonetheless, everything turned out well. In fact, great. School administrator Mr. Opfell said it was the best play he’d seen in his 13 years at Monroe. “We set a higher standard for ourselves… I like to think we reached it.”

With such an impressive record, the cast can only look up, as they prepare for Neil Simon’s Broadway hit, Rumors, to be shown on October 11, 12, and 13. About a dinner party that erupts when a scandal breaks loose, four aristocratic, snobby couples go insane as they try to cover everything up and save their own precious reputations. A new year has left the Club with a condensed and refreshed cast, more experience, and ambitions of theatrical proportions. Many members speculate this may be the funniest and most successful of the SAS Drama Club’s productions. And we certainly wouldn’t be surprised it if is.

*The SAS Drama Club meets every Wednesday during lunch in B1. Any student interested in theater, acting or backstage work is heartily invited.
*Rumors shows 6:00PM-9:00PM on Oct. 11, 12 and 13 in Odin’s Hall at Monroe High School (9229 Haskell Ave., North Hills, CA 91343): $4 general admission, $3 with any student I.D.