• Abigail Davison, PHS Senior Drama Club cast member

PHS Drama Cast Welcomes Guest Artist


SCHEDULING UPDATE: Show dates have changed to March 17th, 18th and 19th due to COVID quarantine protocol.


On Wednesday, Feb 23rd, the cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee welcomed LCC Theatre professor Paige Tufford-Dunckel, who led us in a workshop on character expression and development. A throughline for our rehearsals this season, we’ve been working vigorously, every practice filled to the brim with singing, dancing, acting and individual character exploration.


As actors we investigate different ways to portray characters, asking questions we don't often consider about ourselves. How would this character deal with anger? How does this character walk when they are disappointed? How does this character sit when they are bored? What does our body language and movement tell the audience about our characters in that moment? Overall, being an actor is like putting yourself in someone else's shoes, walking around, getting comfortable and attempting to understand their feelings and desires. Physical character exploration is a large part of this.


During the workshop we explored where intention and emotion can be held in the body. For example, when a character is scared, they may lead with their feet (think Shaggy creeping around with Scooby-Doo). When a character is evil they may hunch their bodies forward or allow their shoulders to creep up (think Dr. Doofenshmirtz or Vizzini from The Princess Bride). In The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, we each portray different children experiencing a common challenge, some of us excited and giddy to spell, while others persistent and unphased by the competition, fully confident in their abilities. As actors, we faced significant challenges when first approaching this play, the most prominent being how each of us depict our intentions in different and interesting ways, despite each wanting the same thing. Each character is at a spelling bee, every one of us there to take the trophy and win the bee. And so our focus in our work has been how to find and express our characters’ individual stories in this common experience. Many of us left the workshop with better ideas on how to show our characters unique and distinct qualities, while effectively telling the story.


We are all very excited to share the joys of each character, and the result of our months of work with you, March 10th, 11th and 12th at 7:30pm in the PHS auditorium. Tickets are available at the door on performance nights, or through the online box office at https://search.seatyourself.biz/webstore/accounts/portlandhs/buy-tix



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