The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

WHS Drama Club gets good reviews


February 1, 2018

Courtesy photo

The Wahkiakum High School Drama club won honors at a high school one act festival in Longview. Back row: Stage Manager Novella Hokkanen and Kayla Wisner, who was in charge of hair and costumes. Middle Row: Best Supporting Actor winner David Thompson and Best Actress Ryan McKay-Beach. Front Row: Hope Russell, who handled art, lighting, and backstage.

The Wahkiakum High School Drama Club will cap off wins and three performances at a High School One Act festival at Stageworks Northwest with two performances in Cathlamet this weekend.

Two weeks ago, the club competed against two ensembles from R.A. Long and a group from Washougal High School. "Wishing Moon," their one act play written by club supervisor and director Shawn Deal, won best overall play. Ryan McKay Beach won best actress, and David Thompson won best supporting actor.

The following weekend they got to perform their play in front of an audience in Longview.

"Wishing Moon" was the only original play entered in the competition.

"The play is a magical realism mythology infused play about Trent, played by David, who is trying to ask an important question of Amy," Deal said. "I wanted to explore the handing down of traditions. It's got a bit of morality. At its essence it's a romance story. But it's very heavy with emotions. Both kids go through a lot of emotions."

Deal, who spent seven years in Portland as a full time actor/writer/director, took over the drama club last year. The students performed their first play last spring.

"There were five returning this year, everyone else graduated," Deal said. "So what we did with four or five people is amazing."

McKay-Beach and Thompson were enthusiastic about their acting experience.

"It's our personality. It's our nature!" Mckay-Beach said.

"To do and to be! To play and to speak!" Thompson quipped.

"I'm diction! I'm actions!" McKay-Beach replied.

"Diction, action, repulsion! Who cares!" Thompson finished.

The sophomores have been participating in Missoula Children's Theatre for years. They were partners in crime in preschool, so the repartee came naturally.

"This is really different," Thompson said. "Mr. Deal is throwing me for character loops. I do great in comedy, but flounder in emotional plays."

Two things are certain: They are learning a lot and they are having fun.

Sophomore Hope Russell did the artwork for the posters, worked backstage, and handled the lights. Last year, she created the poster and performed. She'll get another chance this year to perform again.

"I created the poster on an app on my phone," Russell said." "Mr. Deal wanted trees and two people after that I could do whatever I wanted."

Diana Zimmerman

Wahkiakum High School sophomores Ryan McKay-Beach and David Thompson won best actress and best supporting actor awards at a high school one act festival in Longview two weeks ago.

"Last year was my first play," Russell continued. "I enjoyed it. I really like fictional things, so I can portray different sides of myself within a character and in the events of a story. It's fascinating to me."

Russell is interested in animation. She started on a DS, a handheld game console, but she now gets to practice on a laptop and drawing tablet.

Kayla Wisner was in charge of hair and costumes and Novella Hokkanen was the stage manager.

The club meets for a half hour every two weeks, Deal said.

"Last year we worked on improv," he said, "but this year we worked on character development. We do exercises. Rehearsal time runs longer for us. Other schools can use class time, but we don't have that."

There will be two performances of Wishing Moon at Wahkiakum High School this Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission suggestions are $3 for students and $5 for adults.


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