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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Corner Canyon theater students preparing for regional competition

Jan 27, 2017 10:06AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Theater students Bailey Schepps, Nicole Canaan, Haylee McKinnon, Alyia Foote and Jessica Oehlerking performed recently in Corner Canyon High School’s production of “Any Body for Tea,” directed by students Zach Davis and Maddie Sueltz. (Phaidra Atkinson/Corner Canyon High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

With the ensemble regional competition approaching in March, Corner Canyon High School theater students already are in rehearsal for their entry, “Metamorphosis.”

The Greek mythology play is a compilation of vignettes, used to teach morals to both the audience and cast, director Phaidra Atkinson said.

“There are stories explaining the relationships in Greek mythology,” Atkinson said.  “We want students to be learning and discovering more about the world through theater.”

The entire cast will be in the story of King Ceyx and his wife, Alcyone, where despite his wife’s warnings and disapproval, Ceyx sets off on an ocean voyage. Poseidon, the sea god, destroys Ceyx’s ship and the king dies. Prompted by Aphrodite, Alcyone has a dream of Ceyx, who tells her to go to the shore. With mercy from the gods, the two are reunited, transformed into seabirds and fly together toward the horizon.

The cast also will appear in the dark underworld of the story of Orpheus, the god of music, and his wife, Eurydice.  The story of Eurydice dying is told from two points of view — one from Orpheus, who promises to Hades that if his wife is freed from the underworld, even if only to walk behind him, that he will never look back at her. However, he fails several times and she returns to Hades, with the result that he forever loses his bride. In the second point of view, 

Eurydice becomes forgetful and fragile and no longer remembers Orpheus. She returns to the underworld ignorant of Orpheus, the man she loved.

The entire cast also will be a big part of the ending of “Baucis and Philemon,” Atkinson said.

In that story, Zeus and Hermes disguise themselves as beggars on earth to see which people are following the laws of Xenia. After being shunned by every house in the city, they are accepted into the house of Baucis and Philemon, a poor married couple. The couple feed the gods with a great feast, not knowing the identity of the strangers. After the feast, the gods reveal themselves and grant the two a wish. Baucis and Philemon ask to die at the same time to save each other the grief of death. The gods transform their house into a grand palace and the couple into a pair of trees with branches intertwined. 

The leading Greek chorus in the show includes Abby Broadbent, Haylee McKinnion, Hope Weaver, Bailey Schepps, Maddie Sueltz and Nicole Canaan.

The cast includes Midas, played by Adam Packard; Midas’ daughter/Erysichthon’s mother as a little girl, played by Makensie Gomez; Alcyone, played by Gentrie Saddler; Ceyx, played by Sam Schino; Orpheus, played by Brandon Bills; Eurydice, played by  Jessica Oehlerking; Hermes, played by Aaron Lawrenz; Erysichthon, played by Chandler Blount; Hunger, played by Abby Walker; Zeus, played by Sam Schino; Servant to Midas, played by Gabe Bennion; Silenus, played by Justin Vass; Bacchus/buyer, played by Zach Davis; Poseidon, played by Brandon Bills; Poseidon’s Henchman 1, played by Gabe Bennion; Poseidon’s Henchman 2, played by Brian Garrick; Aphrodite, played by Jessica Oehlerking; Sleep, played by Brian Garrick; Ceres, played by Gentrie Saddler; Oread/Erysichthon’s mother, played by Riley Mellenthin; Hades, played by Stoney Grayer;  Baucis, played by Abby Walker; and Philemon, played by Cade Carter.

The stage manager and assistant stage manager are Hannah Andersen and Malaina Toner, respectively.

Corner Canyon will host the ensemble competition Thursday, March 9. Students competing in individual events will take the stage at Alta High in Sandy on Tuesday, March 14. Before performing at region, students will give performances Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3 at their own auditorium, 12943 S. 700 E. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Atkinson said Corner Canyon students also are looking ahead to putting on their final show, “Urinetown,” which will take place in the school auditorium at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 17 through Saturday, May 20. Tickets are $7 at the door.

“I love that show. It’s so funny and it’s a clean show, despite the bad title,” she said.

Seniors just finished wrapping up their one-act plays, where they picked and directed shows, selected the cast, props, costumes and every part of producing a play, Atkinson said.

The two comedies and two serious plays were performed Jan. 13–14. “Any Body for Tea” was directed by Zach Davis and Maddie Sueltz; “Henry’s Law” by  Abby Broadbent; “Lockdown” by Chandler Blount; and “Fully Committed” by Brandon Bills and Adam Packard.

Theater students also attended the Utah Theatre Association conference at Dixie State University Jan. 20–21 where they viewed several schools’ and professional theater shows as well as learn from New York City actors Will Swenson, Audra McDonald and Seth Rudetsky in several workshops.  

“It’s a good opportunity for them to see through their eyes if this is something they really want to go into or if they want to use their performing arts talents in another way,” Atkinson said.  “They meet students from other schools and become friends and support them through the years.”