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Psychological thriller shows chaos of group mentality. Oregon Children's Theatre's Young Professionals opens 'DNA' Oct. 25.

COURTESY PHOTOS  - The Young Professionals will open its new season with DNA running Oct. 25 through Nov. 10.

For The Review, Tidings

Oregon Children's Theatre's Young Professionals Company opens its 2019-2020 season with "DNA," a psychological thriller by British playwright Dennis Kelly.

"DNA" will run Oct. 25 through Nov. 10, with 7:30 p.m. shows Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees at the Young Professionals Studio Theater, 1939 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland OR 97232.

Directed by Zoe Rudman, "DNA" is recommended for ages 14 and up, due to mature language and content.

When a local teen is presumed dead, a group of their peers begins a dangerous spiral down into guilt and panic.

What unfolds is a complex unraveling of reason and the chaos of group mentality. Comprised of 60 teenagers ages 14 through 18, the YP shows are selected by a committee, then produced and performed by the teen company members.

"The YPs are always looking for material that will help them grow as artists," says Artistic Director Dani Baldwin. "They chose 'DNA' because its characters are complex and the work is challenging, and they are inspired by the opportunity it presents."

In addition to the acting challenges, the teens will also be working with dialect coach Val Landrum to use authentic accents as indicated in the script.

The cast features Josh Bransford as Danny, Kieran Gettel-Gilmartin as John Tate, Sylvia Grosvold as Lea, Tessa Lignore as Addie, London Mahaley as Mark, Sam Majors as Brian, Makenna Markman as Cathy, Claire Voilleque as Reggie, Jasper Warhus as Phil and Aleena Yee as Jan.

In addition to performing, the YP work behind the scenes as house managers, stage managers, and apprentice designers.

The success of these positions is immediately apparent: Several members of the creative team for "DNA" were themselves former members of the YP Company.

"As a YP, these teens not only learn the skills they need to be professional performers, but also learn valuable backstage skills to help broaden their interests and experience in theater," Baldwin said.

"The fact that many of our YPs work as theatrical professionals — both onstage and off — is a true testament to the success of this company."

The creative team include YP Alumni Zoe Rudman (director), Sydney Dyfka (costume designer, Erin MacGillivray (production coordinator); Avi Sheehan (lighting designer), Richard Moore (sound designer), Sophie Kristensen (set and props designer), Val Landrum (dialect coach), Irie Page (YP directing apprentice), Hailey Hoffer (YP stage manager), Kate Daley (YP house manager), Grace Riley (YP costume apprentice) and Bella Bravo (YP sound design apprentice).

Tickets are $12 in advance at or $15 at the door. For groups of 10 or more tickets are $10 each with code YPGROUP1920.

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