Catholic San Francisco


Marin Catholic stages “The Servant with Two Masters.”

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High-school theater: Moral choices, comedy, romance on fall lineup
October 25th, 2011
By Valerie Schmalz

The importance of moral choice in a flawed society predominates in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Dracula,” and “The Crucible,” plays staged this fall by high schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

For those seeking lighter fare, Marin Catholic High School offers an Italian romantic comedy of mistaken identity, “The Servant of Two Masters,” and Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton performs “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

At Mercy High School in San Francisco, Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” has been cut and adapted with reference to well-known outer space adventures such as “Star Trek,” said Teresa Lucchese, community relations director.

San Domenico School touches on love and death with a modern version of the Greek myth of a groom who travels to Hades to retrieve his bride who died on their wedding day. “Eurydice” uses a pool “to allow for the ebb and flow of life and death to be represented with the actors traveling in and out of the water,” says Beth Kellermann, drama director at the San Anselmo girls school.

Moral choices are at the heart of “The Crucible,” at both Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley and St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco. In telling the story of the Salem witch trials as an allegory for the blacklisting of alleged communists in the McCarthy era of the 1950s, playwright Arthur Miller addresses two themes, said St. Ignatius drama director Ted Curry. The first is the importance of a person’s good name. “The second theme is this: All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to say or do nothing,” Curry said.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racism and moral courage in a small Alabama town, is being staged in San Francisco by Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and in San Mateo County by Tri-School Productions, a joint effort of Junipero Serra High School, Mercy Burlingame High School and Notre Dame High School in Belmont. SHCP drama director Francine Torres-Kelly calls the play “a fascinating look at racism, perspective and empathy.”

At Archbishop Riordan High School, Christopher Fern is making his directing debut with “Dracula.” Fern said, “This show has something for everyone: the corruption of power, the naivety of youth, the wisdom of age, the quest for eternal life and the battle for your soul.” The production enlists the technology department, which created special fangs for Dracula and other actors, he said.

Marin Catholic’s choice of an Italian comedy is being billed as “outrageous fun for all,” as young love is hindered by mistaken identity and bumbling servants. At Sacred Heart-Atherton, “The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee” – the last performance is Oct. 29 – centers on a fictional spelling bee and stars six quirky adolescents and three adults on the outside range of normal. Said director John Loschmann, “The students learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.”


From October 28, 2011 issue of Catholic San Francisco.



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