The first play of the year for Deer Park Home Link’s drama performance class, Anne of Green Gables, was a huge success. Sharlene Steverding and her amazing cast of students put on a beautiful showing. There were several new students this year in the Drama class, and all of them fit into their roles with the ease of natural thespians. The lead role of Anne was played by Christina Shupe. Shupe was animated and engaging as she told stories about “the Lake of Shining Waters” and the “White Way of Delight”. The audience was clearly drawn into Shupe’s performance, and most spectators commented on not realizing that the play lasted fully three-and-a-half hours – one of the longer running times for DPHL performances.
For the past seven years, Deer Park Home Link has been showcasing performances at the Deer Park High School Ken Fisher Performing Arts Theatre. The lightning, fly system, and sound has improved by leaps and bounds in that time. A notable distinction this year was the placement of the actors’ microphones. In previous years microphones have been secured to the actor’s face which would pick up all sounds from a ruffled collar to a stray hair. This year, the mics were secured to the actors’ lapels and made all the difference in sound quality. There were even a few patrons who did not need to use the assisted hearing features available in the theatre because of this change.
The cast has also seen many changes throughout the years as students graduate, but the plays have always held a high standard of accuracy and beauty. The beautiful backdrops and the constructed elements of the set by DPHL students were integral in sweeping the audience to the small farm in Nova Scotia where Anne transfixes the small community. Even though the actors might be hard on themselves for missed cues or forgotten lines, the minor mistakes were completely lost on the audience. Each student works long, arduous hours perfecting their diction and tone for each character. One actor in particular, Keith Arya, was hardly recognizable in each role he played. Arya did an outstanding job of changing his voice just enough to add life to the new character without taking away any clarity for the audience.
Steverding has a great eye for casting, and actors were placed in their ideal roles. The comedic timing of the cast was spot on, even with the long performance and tiring days. Heidi Cade, who played Rachel, never missed a cue when she was called upon stage to inject Rachel’s predictable responses. The Station Manager was played by Logan Basta, and he cleverly snagged the first laughs each night with his stoic presentation of Anne at the train station. The classroom scene was so well choreographed that actors didn’t miss a beat and the audience was easily able to follow the tumult.
If you missed this performance by the exceptional DPHL class, you can look forward to their next play, Father Knows Best. The last play of the year will be on Friday, May 11, and Saturday,May 12. Both days will have showtimes at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. In addition to dramatic performances, Home Link also showcases a variety of other class productions at the Ken Fisher Performing Arts Theatre. Some highlights from other class performances include: ballet, Irish dance, fashion shows, signing and musical exhibitions.