PUBLISHED: 4:15 PM on Wednesday, October 31, 2007
JDHS gets into 'MASH'
When new theater director at Juneau-Douglas high school, Michaela Moore, set out to choose a fall play, she wanted something with name recognition and a large cast.

"MASH" fit the bill, although many of the students were not familiar with the story.

"I wanted something with a big name so people would want to come see it, and with a big cast so more kids would audition," Moore said.

"We wanted kids who thought they might be interested to try it. They're wonderful and they have all this talent and they haven't used it."

Senior Lindsay Hulbert auditioned for the first time and landed the part of a nurse.

"It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time but never felt like it was something I could achieve," Hulbert said.

"Ms. Moore encouraged me and said that she would love to have me and even if I didn't get a speaking part I could help out on the set. I could do something. The whole cast is great and everyone is so accepting of everyone else."

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Juneau-Douglas High School students rehearse a scene from "MASH," which shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, and Nov. 9-10, at the JDHS auditorium. Tickets may be purchased at Hearthside Books and the JDHS activities office and cost $6 for students and seniors and $8 for adults with an additional $2 charged at the door. To view more photos, go online to
Moore said she likes to use extras to allow students to test the waters before jumping into a big role.

"It's good for kids who might not be ready for a bigger part or a little too shy to do that but know they can be part of something and get their feet wet to see if they like it or not," Moore said.

While many students weren't aware of the comedy based on doctors dealing with the Korean War, Moore said the story is universal and students are reacting to the story in a positive way.

"It doesn't matter where it takes place, just war in general and everything that goes with that. It uses doctors to tell that story. There are a lot of people in wars that do more than just the fighting. The fighting is very important, but there are other people over there having to do all these things and all the clean up," Moore said.

"This story takes the problems with no good answers and treats it with humor because that's what we as humans do to survive. When life gets tough we laugh, there's nothing else to do but go crazy."

Freshman Sheryce Marshall is an extra in the production and said she became interested in the play after reading the script in class.

"I thought it was a lot of fun. Flipping through the channels I've seen a bit of 'MASH,' but I wasn't ever a big fanatic. I really like the characters and the personality of the characters. They are so unique. They have their serious moments, but the dialogue is so funny," Marshall said.

Learning about war through the production has brought the realities of war home for some students, Moore said.

"It's in the back of everyone's mind I think it gives it a little bit of perspective too. It's brought some of these kids respect back for the military. They get upset because of the war and kids will start to say things and they don't think when they talk. They'll be in a class with someone who has a loved one in the military and say something without thinking because they're upset," Moore said. "What this has done is made them think about it and the fathers and sons and mothers and daughters fighting and the respect they deserve no matter how they feel about the war. It's a very human play coming to terms."

One challenge of the show is dealing with the many props used throughout the performance.

Helping keep tabs on those props are freshmen Rhyan Holmes and Shanau'a Moore, Michaela Moore's daughter.

"It's very hectic. There are four tables worth of props and more on the floor," Holmes said.

Shanau'a Moore said working with her mom is nice because of the close relationship they have.

"She likes having me around because she can rely on me, but she keeps me in line, too," she said. "It's kind of hard to see her get so stressed, but she works through it and she's so happy with this job. I love my mom."

Shanau'a not only helps with props, but also has a small role and manages the spotlight, among other tasks.

"It's been so much fun having her in it. She's had to really pick up a lot of the slack, and it's been nice," Michaela Moore said.

Another helping hand with the production is theater manager Lucas Hoiland.

"He's an amazing artist. He knows so much about every aspect of theater, and he's been a huge support and partner for me. Lucas just stepped in there, and it's just like having a fellow teacher helping me do the play," Moore said. "The kids love, respect and admire him. He's been a huge blessing."

Senior Colt Franklin said he's been in productions before and is enjoying the laid back atmosphere that comes with being experienced in high school performances.

"I'm meeting a whole bunch of new people," Franklin said.

"I knew 'MASH' by title, but I had never seen it. It's a very interesting play. It has its humorous side, I think it will really catch the attention of adults and the high school crowd."

"MASH" shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, and Nov. 9-10, at the JDHS auditorium.