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Bruin actors look to return in dramatic fashion with “Death at Donner”

Bruin actors and actresses wait their turn to display their skills at the tryouts for “Death at Donner.” Photo by Sara Tate

Bear River Drama students are buzzing with excitement about this year’s upcoming production: “Death at Donner.” “Death at Donner” is a murder mystery production with hints of true historic events about a group who gets trapped during a snow storm in a quaint lodge at Donner. Drama Teacher Sara Noah promised her students a twist ending with the occasional cannibal joke.

Kennedy Lyman, a Sophomore at Bear River,  hopes to dip her feet in drama auditions for numerous roles. She explained how COVID-19 has taken a toll already on this years production. 

“It’s hard to hear,” she said. “You can’t really enunciate, inside you have to keep [your mask] on, and you can’t really express yourself”

Senior Allison Whiting agreed.

“In a way it is a little bit restricting because we haven’t been able to do a show in a while,” she said. “And all the masks, as well as having a limited audience for the show that’s coming up.”

However Whiting saw the good in the bleakness of COVID-19, seeing the play as an opportunity.

“It will be a way to fight through [COVID-19],” she said.

Junior Gwenyth Devine, who hopes to be Ameilia or the detective in the upcoming play, said that she is enjoying the in person drama class.

“It’s been a little different [with COVID-19], this is probably my second year doing a play, last year we did a video tape and that’s how we performed it so I’m liking this better taking [it] as it comes.”

This play means a lot to everyone.

“It’s a mystery,” Lyman said. “I like that stuff and it draws me towards drama.”

“I feel it’s a way for things getting back to normal,” said Whiting.

Devine explained how drama helps her show her creativity.

“Last year I had such a great time meeting new people and being able to do something outside of distance the whole time,” she said. “So it’s like… an outlet for me.”

No one is as excited as Mrs. Noah. Mrs. Noah has been in drama for most of her life, performing in her middle school and highschool productions, however this particular play holds different meaning than others she has produced in the past. “Death at Donner” was written by Mrs. Noah, with inspiration from the popular movie “Clue,” the murder mystery classic, as well as a the historic events of the Donner Party. She is hopeful for this year considering the circumstances, but explained how it is difficult to plan for a show in October with changing protocols from CDC.

“Drama class is super hands-on so last year it kind of turned into a film class,” she said. “This year it’s been nice to be doing stuff, be on our feet, but we are limited [wearing masks]. We still don’t know the protocol for audiences.”’

This play means a lot for the drama class. The students are excited to get back to acting, with audiences. Everyone is hoping for a successful show this year. Mrs. Noah ended by encouraging Bruins to support Bear River drama students.

“Make sure you go to ‘Death at Donner’ in October,” said Mrs. Noah.

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Bruin actors look to return in dramatic fashion with “Death at Donner”