Timing Is Everything


Don't laugh at Shamus Donovan's family traditions. He doesn't have time to listen to your mockery. He must find husbands for Katherine, Bridgette, Maeve, Moira and Alana, in the order of their birth.

"You knew when you married me, the Donovans were a proud, traditional clan," Donovan tells his wife.


Shannon Horton, playing Katie, is disgusted with Logan Knudson, playing Danny, in the Payson High School Drama Department presentation of "Donovan's Daughters."

"And half lunatics," she replies.

Donovan, played by Jonathan Gartner, has twofold trouble, First, he lives in the Pacific Northwest of 1885 where there are 10 men for every woman. Secondly, his eldest daughter is a shrew.

So begins, Payson High School Drama's final play of the year, "Donovan's Daughters," a take-off on Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew."

Bachelor options for the Donovan girls are Patrick, the hired hand, Asa, the mayor, Judd, the baker, Clive, the news editor and Danny, the federal marshal.

One will be desperate enough to take on wild Katie.

Junior Logan Knudson has his first lead as Danny.

PHS presents: "Donovan's Daughters"When: 7:30 p.m. May 9, 10 and 12 and 4 p.m. Friday, May 11Where: Studio Theater, behind the Payson High School auditoriumCost: $4 adults; $3 students and seniors; $2 Longhorn Pride card

Before auditions, he made it a point to read the dialogue of several smaller parts.

"I was surprised when I got the part," Knudson said.

He took a day off last week, in addition to regular rehearsal, to memorize his lines.

"It is all just fun, now that I know my lines," he said.

Ill-tempered shrew, Katherine, is played by senior, Shannon Horton.

Horton will be close to her audience in the Studio Theatre where she and 26 more cast members will take the intimate stage.

The theater behind the auditorium seats the audience close to the stage.

Because of the proximity, timing, eye contact become especially important.

"And the energy level just soars," Horton said.

Horton said she does not prefer one stage over the other.

"I'd put on a monologue right here, right this second, if you asked," she said.

A stage closer to the audience means less space for the technicians and set dressers to work.

There are two settings, the fisherman's inn and a lumberjack's cabin, so when furniture gets moved behind the stage, the actors who are waiting in the wings also have less room.

Add that to the fact that the male technicians are all playing roles in "Donovan's Daughter's" and timing remains critical.

Steven "Quat" Vandemeer, an 11th-grade tech, said he thinks the play will come across just fine, because the students took the time to plan for what might seem like organized chaos to an outsider.

The need for tight timing builds friendships.

"You find out you can rely on and trust people and ask for someone else to do something, if you need to," Vandemeer said. He plays Judd, the baker, in addition to his duties backstage.

"Donovan's Daughters" will be staged at the Studio Theater, behind the Payson High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. May 9, 10 and 12 and 4 p.m. on Friday, May 11.

Admission is $4 adults; $3 students and seniors; $2 Longhorn Pride card.

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