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CCHS drama students explore the concept of immortality when they present 'Tuck Everlasting' next week

HOLLY SCHOLZ/CENTRAL OREGONIAN 
 - Crook County High School senior Drew Finley will be a puppeteer with a toad during 'Tuck Everlasting' next week.

What would happen if you could live forever?

"How would you deal with that? That's kind of a crazy concept," says Crook County High School drama student Drew Finley.

She and her fellow theater students will explore the concept of immortality when they present "Tuck Everlasting" next week.

"It's a good family show," Finley said "It's funny, but it's also pretty heartwarming."

Under the direction of Anita Hoffman, Crook County High School Drama and Thespian Troupe #4906 will present their last show of the school year at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 16 and at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, May 17 in the CCHS Eugene Southwell Auditorium. Admission is $1.

"'Tuck Everlasting' follows the Tuck family as they encounter the precocious 10-year-old Winnie Foster and let her in on their secret of immortality. But living forever is not all it is cracked up to be," Hoffman said. "Adapted by Mark Frattaroli and based on the young adult novel written by Natalie Babbitt, this one-hour show tackles difficult questions of life and death."

About 15 students are involved in the production, including CCHS senior Finley, who is head of publicity and also a puppeteer.

"We usually do a children's show every couple years, and we wanted to do something simple for the end of the year because we had a six-week build instead of our regular eight-week build," Finley said. "It's a very quick show."

They have invited local elementary and middle school students as well as retirement home residents to the morning productions, but Hoffman said the community is also welcome to attend.

HOLLY SCHOLZ/CENTRAL OREGONIAN 
 - Jesse Tuck, played by CCHS junior Travis Bond, left, greets Winnie Foster, played by junior Zoe Poore, outside of her cottage as Grandma, played by sophomore Dakota Carpenter, looks on."With these types of shows, we like to focus more on the elementary and middle schoolers," Finley said. "When we did 'The Odyssey' a couple years ago, we only did morning performances, but we're doing an evening performance this time because we need some more funding, so we wanted to open it up to the wider public."

CCHS senior Casey Tunison is the stage manager, and junior Zoe Poore plays Winnie Foster. This is her fifth high school production.

This is the first play for junior Travis Bond. He plays the role of Jesse Tuck, who falls in love with Winnie.

"It's whimsical. It's pretty funny and humorous," Bond said. "It's easy to follow."

As puppeteer, Finley will play the role of a toad, who is Winnie's friend.

"I'm making it have human-like characteristics when it's just around Winnie, but when a character comes on the stage, it turns back into a toad," she explained.

She likes how Winnie's character develops as she gets to know the Tuck family.

"It's pretty cool to see the transition of how she changes from shy little Winnie to powerful and someone that she believes in. She has a hard time with herself because she doesn't really have any friends. Her best friend is a toad," Finley laughs. "When she meets Jesse and the Tuck family, it all changes for her."

She said Hoffman did well to pick this show and that everything is coming together quickly despite their short timeframe.

"The set is very complicated yet simplistic at the same time because we divided the stage in half. One side is the Foster house and one side is for the Tuck house," Finley said. "We have some cool special effects."

The young actors encourage people to come to see their production.

"It's a show that is worth the watch," Finley said. "It has a really good story, and it teaches some good lessons."

'Tuck Everlasting' by CCHS students

Dates: 9 a.m. Thursday, May 16 and 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, May 17

Place: Crook County High School Eugene Southwell Auditorium, 1100 SE Lynn Blvd.

Admission: $1. No charge for Thespians.

To attend the 9 a.m. performance, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 541-416-6900 for tickets.

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