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Woodburn High School Theater to present 'Between You and Me,' a collaboration with McDaniel High.

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn Theater Arts students rehearse on the schools main stage in preparation for a fall production that will be presented once in Woodburn and once in Portland. The group is working collaboratively with theater students from Portlands McDaniel High School (formerly Madison High). PETE is back onstage with the Woodburn High School student performers and designers this fall.

Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble visited the school in the fall of 2019 and worked with local student actors in a dramatic collaboration that produced two new short plays in a new project dubbed "Devised Play Festival." The professional theater artists from Portland steered the students as they created, refined, rehearsed and ultimately performed the short plays.

This year the Portland professionals have returned to work with students in a similar capacity; they are helping students devise two new short experimental plays in a collaborative project dubbed "Between You and Me."

The Woodburn contingent is also collaborating with cohorts from Portland's McDaniel High School (formerly Madison), so the two schools' theatrical performances will include a "road game."

Locally, the production will take the stage in Woodburn for one day only with two performances, 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, in the WHS Auditorium. There will also be performances at McDaniel in Northeast Portland at 4 and 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4.

"This is our second collaboration with PETE. We love how personal their theater-making process is and how it gives a ton of space for student voice," Woodburn Theater Director Caleb Thurston said. "It is such a gift to work with artists who equally have such passion for the art and passion for the students."

Thurston said students from both high schools have been having a dialogue for the past six weeks while experiencing training workshops from PETE artists and shared brainstorming sessions.

"PETE is a company of artists who make new plays in a collaborative way. We train together and teach our work," PETE co-artistic director Cristi Miles said. "We are committed to creative rigor, to the enrichment of our local arts ecology, and to connect with diverse audiences.

"We challenge established notions of theatrical form and content with innovative practice, presentation and organization," Miles added. "We strive to achieve a radical kind of presence shared with audiences in the performance event."

Besotted brainstorming

On Oct. 25, while some Woodburn performers worked with a PETE artist on the mainstage, junior Lukas Locher was busy brainstorming with a prop bottle of hooch behind the scenes on a makeshift hallway stage, eliciting applause from fellow thespians through various acts of besotted buffoonery.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn High School junior Lukas Locher hams it up a bit to the delight of others during a backstage rehearsal in preparation for Between You and Me.

"We're just working on brainstorming stuff, and I'm not sure any of it will go into the big picture," said Locher, a Woodburn transfer from Wilsonville.

He said COVID-19 precluded stage drama in any capacity his freshman year, while a personal medical issue did the same the following year. This year he is avid about the opportunity to perform, and he feels that he's gleaning something under the tutelage of PETE.

"It's very interesting and not really what I'm used to, per se," Locher said. "I definitely like the unique experience and how everyone contributes in their own way."

Locher applauded the PETE leadership and how they've brought out the personal connectivity between everyone involved.

"We're still putting things together; it definitely subverts the idea of what a normal play is," Locher said. "Maybe people will come away from this with a different way of looking at theater in general."PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - This fall, teams of Woodburn High School student performers and designers are working alongside professional theatre artists from Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE) to create, refine, rehearse and perform two original short plays.

That coincides with Thurston's explanation of the lessons gained within the collaboration.

"It's about how we connect to people who are different from ourselves -- it's how we talk to each other," Thurston said.

Thurston noted that the three plays -- two performed by Woodburn and on by McDaniel students -- will run about 30 minutes each with brief intermissions in between, making for a roughly 90-minute production.PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Woodburn High School junior Lukas Locher backstage in preparation for rehearsal for the schools fall production, Between You and Me, done in collaboration with Portlands McDaniel High School (formerly Madison High).

Tickets are $5 for general admission and can be purchased from the box office starting 30 minutes before each performance. For information or for group seating reservations, contact Thurston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 503-980-6275.

For information about PETE, visit petensemble.org.

'Between You and Me' cast and crew list

Cast

Team Sofia

Mariah Morales

Sandra Montanez Villamar

Jorge Carrera Montes

Tamara Tschebortajew

Kai (Carina) Cabrera

Tony Pascalar

K'Lynn Bryant

Team Olivia

Thatcher Ohmart

Carmen Elsasser

Lukas Locher

Jada Thompkins

Angela Gonzalez Ortiz

Kaelynn Carroll

Kayden Kent

Palack (Anthony) Martinez Mendez

Crew

Tech coordinator: Leo Constantino

Team Olivia

Set: Izea Leon Garcia

Joaquin Larios

Props: Alanah Beaudre

Costumes: Damara Castaneda

Maria-Bravo

Hair/makeup: Jolette Morales Mateos

Team Sofia

Stage manager: Mark Dezsofi

Set: Alex Carreno Hernandez

Props: Ulises Rojas Reyes

Max (Taylor) Affinito

Andy Serrano

Costumes: Noelia Mendoza

Mirella Chavez

Hair/makeup: Iran Miranda Moreno


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