The long-standing rivalry between Enumclaw and White River High Schools is taking a back seat to a joint production the schools' drama students are debuting at the end of the month called Almost, Maine.
Almost, Maine, written by John Cariani, is a romantic comedy that "inventively explores the mysteries of the human heart, touching audiences with laughter, heartbreak and hope," according to the play's website.
The two schools last teamed up in 2009 for a joint production of The Christmas War. Though both schools had hoped to continue working together once a year, budget cuts on White River's side left the school's drama program on the chopping block, said English teacher Kacee Albert, who used to head the program. Their last production was Anne of Green Gables in 2011.
With this production of Almost, Maine, Enumclaw saw the opportunity to team up and hopefully give White River's program a jump start, said drama teacher Darrell Miller.
Albert credits Miller with helping to build that initial bridge between the schools' drama programs three years ago when she first arrived at White River, she said.
"It is so much fun to share the love of theatre and the family atmosphere that we have created here at Enumclaw," Miller said.
White River's thespians are also excited for the opportunity. Cheyenne Passmore, a junior who is picking up two roles in this production, said that she's been acting since the fifth grade in a variety of productions including schools, professional productions and community theatre. "I just love to perform," she said.
Passmore admitted she was worried working with Enumclaw students might feel strange, but on the first day the students gathered for a table reading last Thursday, "I don't feel awkward," she concluded. "We're merging together as one."
Enumclaw's actors appeared to enjoy the collaboration as well. Junior Juliana Jacobson said, "It's awesome that we're getting to meet new kids."
Senior Tanner Willey agreed: "It's cool to see a lot of new faces."
The students all said they were enjoying the play, describing it as "deep," "love the writing," "funny" and "dramatic."
The school rivalry exists more in the sports world, they said. "The arts is a way to reach out and build community," Albert said.
Willey added, "this is where we make one big family."
Two Casts, Six Shows, Two Venues
Auditions for the play took place separately at each school, and in the end, parts were assigned for two complete casts that blended the students from both schools. There will be three performances each at Enumclaw and at White River at month-end.
- Enumclaw High School: Thursday, Nov., 29; Friday, Nov. 30; and Saturday, Dec. 1
- White River High School: Thursday, Dec. 6; Friday, Dec. 7; and Saturday, Dec. 8
Part Blue Cast
Mitchell Parker Pete Josh Goucher Jessie Lucero Ginette Kaetlyn Hohenschuh Josh Richenburg East Christian Ebenstiner Gwen Ulrick Glory Michelle McGrath Jayson Stager Jimmy Haunz Stroschein Kaitlyn Herman Sandrine Juliana Jacobson Mollie Parce Waitress Cheyenne Passmore Andrea Entz Marvalyn Juliet Bannerot Tanner Willey Steve Zach Lewis Shannon McHugh Gayle Sydney Kurle David Page Lendall Zach McCowin Kyle Sturmer Randy Jared Couch Julio Medina Chad Conner Wells Alex Garate Phil Joey Howells Anna Harris Marci Kelsey Kosko Morgan Hoff Hope Katee Wilson Nick Barnet Danny Nick Barnet Mollie Parce Suzette Cheyenne Passmore Jill Randall Rhonda Lindsey Bowers Peter Moleski Dave Noah Goucher