By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Young actors dive into 'Outsiders' roles

McMinnville High School drama students will present “The Outsiders,” a play about the struggle between different social classes in the 1950s, Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 15 to 17, in the school auditorium. Curtain will be at 7:30 p.m. nightly.

Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for students and $3 with a Mac High student body card.

This is the first play for Mac High’s new drama teacher, Bethany Mason. She said she chose “The Outsiders” because its message of finding good in the world still resonates with students. Most of the high schoolers are familiar with the story, which was required reading in middle school.

Previous drama teacher Deborah Johansen had the play on her schedule before deciding to retire last June. “This is a good way to honor her,” Mason said.

“The Outsiders” is based on a 1960s book of the same name. Novelist S.E. Hinton wrote the book while she was still in high school; she was 18 when it was published.

Among the cast members are: Taylor Koch, Alexander Victor, Jose Aguilar, Andrew Floratos, Emily Beals, Ethan Collins, Darian Kindred, Hanna Roth, Miriam Peterson, Hailey Lundmark, Aaron Clifton, Amanda Sheller, Nikita Morgan, Jeremiah Brophy, Lydia Thompson, Olivia Bowman, Hannah Ingebo, Renee Myers, Alex Weiher, Kyle Nance, Adrian Martin, Kimberlee Wilson, Cydney Simpson, Amanda Howard, Olivia Pettijohn, Mandi Lake, Abigail Pettijohn, Levi Polasek, Anthony Jenkins and Ben Schieber.

Senior Vincent Rolleri plays Johnny Cade, a “greaser” who has been bullied by the more popular, wealthy students, called the “socs.” He said his character is fidgety and nervous, with good reason. He ends up hurting someone else and himself as well.

This is Vincent’s first play. His friends encouraged him to try out. He expected a small part, but ended up with a major role. “I have a lot to live up to,” he said.

He’s nervous, he said, but not worried. He likes getting up in front of people and performing — and he hopes to do so again as a Mr. Mac High contestant later this year. He’s used to competing in Ultimate Frisbee and on the Model U.N. Team.

Ally Lake, a junior, plays Cherry Valance, one of the socs who has connections with both groups.

“I have to play a lot of emotions ... I have to be a preppy cheerleader with many sides, from rude to genuinely sweet,” she said.

Ally, who also is involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and other Mac High activities, said the character is not at all like her real self. When she goes on stage, she tries to shed her real self. “I want people to see Cherry, not Ally,” she said.

She has done several shows before at Mac High, although this is the biggest part she’s played. “I thrive on drama,” she said. “I love putting a show together, working hard and seeing everything come together opening night. It’s magical.”

Jerry Hoover, also a senior, is a theater veteran who has been doing plays since he was a fifth-grader at Wascher Elementary. He said he’s often been cast as a villian or evil henchman. This time, though, he gets to play “an angry but good guy.”

Jerry plays Darry, Ponyboy’s older brother. His character has been forced to take on the responsibility for his younger siblings while working two jobs. “Darry has lots of stress. He’s like a ticking time bomb,” he said.

He is an older brother himself, and that helps him get into the role. “I just picture my sister’s face and that gives me that true emotion,” he joked.

For more information about Mac High drama productions, call the school at 503-565-4200.

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