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The City Journals

Jordan High theater students to perform “Emma,” prepare for regional contest

Jan 20, 2017 12:50PM ● By Julie Slama

Junior Mira Kocherhans will star in the lead role of “Emma” at Jordan High School. (Kali Kocherhans/Jordan High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Jordan High School theater students will step back in time to the days of Jane Austen to perform an adaptation of her famous novel, “Emma.”
The two-hour play with the same name has Emma Woodhouse, who has pledged never to marry, become the matchmaker of young Harriet Smith. Harriet already has received a marriage proposal, but Emma is certain she could do better. 
“Throughout the story, it’s about who likes who, who has a crush on one another and it really is something high school students can connect to,” said director Suzie Duval. “It’s really a fun, romantic comedy.” 
Jordan’s production of “Emma” will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2 through Saturday, March 4 and again Monday, March 6 in the school auditorium, 95 E. Beetdigger Blvd. (9880 South). Tickets are available in the main office or at the door for $5.
The cast includes junior Mira Kocherhans as Emma Woodhouse; junior Dalton Knight as Henry Woodhouse; senior Jack Gardner as George Knightly; sophomore Malorie Winder as Harriet Smith; junior Rachel Megli as Miss Taylor and later Mrs. Weston; and sophomore Hagen Tuft as Rector Philip Elton.
Assisting Duval is student director Kali Kocherhans, who also is helping with choreography. 
“It’s a great opportunity for students who love theater to have the chance to take on a different role in being a student director,” Duval said.
Duval said many of the 42 students who auditioned will be in non-speaking ensembles throughout the play’s wedding, picnic, party and after-school scenes.
“We wanted to perform this show, but we waited until we had the right group of really talented girls since there are strong female roles as well as great boy parts and talent. It’s a show we wanted the students to take on and relate to,” she said.
Days after performing “Emma,” about 25 theater performance students will take to the stage again in “Letters to Sala,” a play based on the true story of Sala Garncarz, who volunteered to go to the Nazi work camp in place of her weaker sister. 
“Sala ended up going to seven work camps and survived.  Both of them did and moved to the U.S., but Sala never told her kids about her past. Before she was going to the hospital for a bypass surgery, she gave her daughter a bundle of letters she kept, which sparked the telling of her story,” Duval said.
“There’s a lot of great female roles in the play, but still a lot for them to learn about during World War II. Many of us are familiar with the concentration camps, but not these work camps,” Duval said.
Assisting Duval will be student director and senior Jack Gardner, costumer Mary Ellen Smith and vocal coach Mindy Curtis. 
Jordan High’s theater season will wrap up at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 18 through Saturday, May 20 and again Monday, May 22 with student one-act shows.
“Students will be the directors or actors and it’s really a fun evening, where they do a great job producing the show.  It’s a lot of work and they take pride in their work,” Duval said.