Journal of the San Juan Islands


Hard at Work

January 9, 2013 · Updated 3:51 PM

Members of the FHHS Drama Group at work on their roles for the upcoming performance of “Working”. / Journal photo / Scott Rasmussen

Fireman, clerk, business executive, waitress. Do you wonder sometimes how others feel about the work they do?

Well, here’s your chance.

The meaning of work will take center stage as the Friday Harbor High School Drama Group tackles one of the more intriguing and thought-provoking stage production ever created about Americans and their attitude about the work that they do, in: “Working”, an adaptation by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and radio broadcaster Studs Terkel’s groundbreaking 1974 non-fiction book, “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do”.

The shows opens Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m., at San Juan Community Theatre, followed by evening performances on Friday and Saturday, and a Sunday matinee, at 2 p.m.

Veteran director Jane Maxwell Campbell, leading the high school drama group since Fred Yocker’s departure two years ago, believes audiences are in for a treat. That’s because “Working” is not you’re typical high school type of production, but rather a montage of individual actors who share the spotlight while conveying the many thoughts, feelings and truth, and the essence, of the work that each of their character does.

“It’s a beautiful production with real people speaking real words about the work they do,” said Campbell, who previously directed the play while working at a California high school. “The kids love the writing and the language, and I think they really like the pathos of the characters and the fact that these were real people.”

All those qualities click for Nick Bey, who plays the role of a steel worker who carries a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Bey, who originally intended to be part of the crew, rather than the cast, said the cast has come to embrace the format of the production, grounded in monologue instead of dialogue, after an initial shock.

“At first it was like, ‘What do you mean? We don’t talk to each other?’,” he said. “But the words have real depth to them and everyone gets a chance to shine.”

The production features a cast of 16 actors, a technical crew of nine, musical direction by Grace Willows and Greg Sadowsky on acoustic guitar. The show runs about one hour, followed by a meet-and-greet for audience and actors in the theatre lobby.

The SJCT box office is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tues-Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays, and one hour prior to any performance; for more info, www.sjctheatre.org.


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