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A Busy Year Promises No Disappointments From MPHS

There's something to be said about the enchantment that a garden can bring to someone's life, and as the Manassas Park High School Drama Department will soon find out in their upcoming February Cappies performance of “The Secret Garden,” more than magic grows from seeds sewn by the ones before us.

Mary, a young child from India, is unexpectedly faced with the death of her parents. Shortly thereafter, she is sent to England where her rich uncle takes care of her. Originally an antisocial, non-assimilated girl, she soon learns to love herself, as well as those around her. When Mary travels outside to visit all the gardens, she gradually grows warmer and fonder towards everyone, especially her bedridden cousin, Colin. During her soul-searching journey of acceptance, she discovers an alluring “secret” garden that belonged to her aunt who had passed away. It is through this garden where young Mary will blossom into a beautiful young lady, while learning to let go of her past resentments.

The set of “The Secret Garden” presents quite the challenge for MPHS drama students. A great amount of greenery and floral decorations will be incorporated into the set design, along with interior settings for an old English home, perhaps the biggest feat yet for this young drama program. However, Manassas Park’s drama students are prepared and excited to take on such an intricate challenge. Casting has not yet been decided, but will be judged on the students’ performances in their current VHSL competition piece, “After Math.” The Secret Garden's director will be none other than Amy McCracken, who has facilitated the MPHS drama department for six years now. Assisting her in the careful direction of the show will be theatre veteran Cole Andrews.

In addition to the upcoming production of The Secret Garden, Manassas Park High School’s Drama Department travelled to district competition at Madison County High School on Oct. 30, performing their one-act production of “After Math.” From playwright Jonathan Dorf comes a dramatically hilarious story of a young boy, Emmett (played by newcomer Jake Frazier), who, while in class one day taking a trivial math test, is kidnapped by aliens…or was he? The entire play focuses on each of the students’ different point of views of what really occurred during that math test.

During the evening of Dec. 20, the drama department will also be hosting a Family Winter Night. Among the several features of this night will be seasonal snacks, craft tables — where children and parents alike can create winter arts and crafts, and a production of the play, “A Christmas Incident at Mistletoe Mesa.” This surely will be a night to remember, for children of all ages!

Finally, on May 4 and 5, 2007, “Grease” is the word at Manassas Park High School. The MPHS Drama Department will proudly present their performance of the highly acclaimed musical, with such hit songs as “Greased Lightning,” “You’re the One That I Want,” and “Summer Nights.” Casting will be open to all students attending Manassas Park High School, and will be directed by Kristina Schenck. “We are so lucky to be able to perform such a popular musical. We promise it will be a performance that will amaze,” said Schenck.

Although the drama department at Manassas Park High School is very young, they have grown every year since their birth just over five years ago. However, be on the lookout for a new addition to the theatre program. “We just got done adding a world-class middle school, with a brand new auditorium. Regrettably, we can’t do our Cappies show in it, but ‘Grease’ will be a different story,” says drama student Shannon Swanson. “But in the end, it doesn’t matter how small the stage is, or how poor the acoustics are. Ultimately, it’s our acting skills that matter.” These hard-working students definitely have made it their mission not to disappoint during the busiest year the group has ever witnessed.