Everyone's favorite ogre
"You won't find an environment like this anywhere else," says Lake Oswego Junior High eighth-grader Quinn Greene.
Greene's talking about the school's drama program, something she's been involved with since sixth grade. "It's an amazing outlet," she says, "for all kinds of artistic expression."
Greene and her fellow thespians are currently rehearsing for their winter musical, "Shrek Jr.," which premieres at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15. Performances are also scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17. The schedule repeats the following weekend, Feb. 22-24.
Greene plays two roles in the musical: a storyteller and a dragon. As a storyteller, she helps guide the audience through the whimsical plot, which follows Shrek and Donkey — and lots of other fairytale misfits — on an adventure to rescue Princess Fiona and overcome the hijinks of the evil Lord Farquaad.
"Everyone in the cast and crew has worked really hard on the show," says Greene. "It has something for everyone. There's a lot of humor and charisma in the show, which I think will make it fun to watch."
Erin Tamblyn, a secretary at Oak Creek, stepped in to direct the play mid-rehearsal after the previous director had to bow out. Tamblyn, who has a background in musical theater, recently played Belle in a production of "Beauty and the Beast" with Pixie Dust Productions in Portland.
"When they asked me to come in, my son was already cast as Shrek, so I had to ask him to make sure he was cool with his mom directing the play," Tamblyn says. "Luckily, he didn't mind."
Eighth-grader A'jialia McClure is one of two students who play Donkey, a role she says is really enjoyable. "The fun part about being Donkey is that he's curious, he's ambitious and he really goes after what he wants," says McClure. "I love singing and acting. I enjoy acting because I get to take on the role of someone else."
Sixth-grader Sadie Ellis has found similar satisfaction in the drama program. "As soon as I heard about drama, I became interested," Ellis says. "I have made so many new friends through drama and choir."
Ellis plays Puss 'n Boots, a role she says is fun and challenging. "The role is funky and kind of different," she says. "I get to show some sass."
Ellis says people should come see "Shrek Jr." because of all of the talented actors in it. "I think people should have a chance to see really talented young actors," she says.
A different cast will perform each weekend, giving more young actors a chance to strut their stuff.
"They've always double-cast the show, but in the past it was only performed for one weekend, so each cast would only get to perform the show twice," says Tamblyn. "It's really nice that we are able to put it on for two weekends so they get more chances to perform. The kids have worked really hard on the show. It feels good for people to get to see it."
For a full list of showtimes and to purchase tickets, visit www.eticketexpress.com/#/event/loj_drama/shrek. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $10.