Lina Della Libera, Katarina Jug, Danielle Zinsmaster, Alyson Coyle, Tasha Terrance, Cami Jones and Sara Schultz rehearse for their upcoming performances in "Donavan's Daughters" at the Fillmore Central High School stage gym on May 9 and May 10.  BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
Lina Della Libera, Katarina Jug, Danielle Zinsmaster, Alyson Coyle, Tasha Terrance, Cami Jones and Sara Schultz rehearse for their upcoming performances in "Donavan's Daughters" at the Fillmore Central High School stage gym on May 9 and May 10. BRETTA GRABAU/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
As the school year winds down, spring sports, prom and other events dominate a majority of many students' days. For Fillmore Central's drama director, Jackie Whitacre, and her group of thespians, this next week holds a special significance.

During the weekend of May 9 and 10, one will see the curtains rise on "Donavan's Daughters," a script from Eldridge Publishing Company, closely following the themes of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew."

The plot follows an Irish couple with their five daughters, set around 1890. Due to the "shrewish" and explosive temperament of the eldest daughter, Katherine, no one in their native country would willingly marry or even court her, though they would marry her four younger sisters who are much sweeter in disposition.

However, there is one problem to that scenario. The father will not allow his younger daughters to marry before the eldest is married. Because of this, the family moves to Seattle in the hope of finding a man to marry Katherine and take over the fishing business in Ireland. This would then free the younger sisters to be married as well.

Seattle, at the time, did not have many women there and a surplus of men. Enter three town councilmen. These men meet Donavan's younger daughters and want to marry them. But the same issues arise as those which existed in Ireland. Katherine must be married first. The council turns to the federal marshal in Seattle to marry Katherine.

The cast and crew at Fillmore Central began preparing for the performances over six weeks ago. Unfortunately, there have been road bumps along the way with sickness, inevitable though it may be, Whitacre noted.

The biggest hurdle, however, was the senior class trip. With a cast of 24 students, missing the 11 seniors in the cast and crew does put a damper on rehearsals, she added.

"The seniors were gone for 10 days and we had two or three practices during that time," Whitacre said.

Because of the sheer number of students who try out, Whitacre focused on scripts able to support a large cast. Of course, it also had to be a well-written play.

"There was one script I thought may be a good play based on the description, but it was really poorly written," Whitacre stated. "I chose this script because it was well written, and though it follows 'The Taming of the Shrew,' it does not assume you know what is going on. It mirrors that play very well."

This year, the cast of "Donavan's Daughters" is made up of freshmen to seniors in high school. Whitacre always gives a part to anyone who tries out. Yet, there were so many who tried out for a part, even students from the seventh and eighth grades, she could not fit them all into the play. So, she did the only other thing she could do - form another cast and provide another show prior to the main feature.

The seventh and eighth grade cast consists of 15 students. Their feature is "The Babysitters Academy," focusing on various scenes of babysitting scenarios. This show lasts only a half hour compared to "Donavan's Daughters," which is two hours in length, but the pre-show feature will add to an already entertaining evening.

This will be Whitacre's 12th year directing spring plays or spring musicals. She has really enjoyed the process of working with this year's cast and seeing great participation.

"There is incredible senior leadership and many of them have been in one-acts that went to state. They have high standards and push themselves hard. Several of them have also been in the spring plays since freshman year," she related. "If someone gets sick, others will stand in and read their parts."

In addition to the cast members from both plays, Whitacre is supported by four crew heads covering costumes, lights and sound, student directing and any additional needs. She greatly appreciates their help and their take-charge attitude.

"Without the crew, we would not be able to do this," she commented.

"Donavan's Daughters" and "The Babysitters Academy" premier on Friday and Saturday, May 9 and May 10. The preshow entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m. with the feature beginning at 8 p.m. in the stage gym in the high school.

Enjoy a night of laughter and "shrewishness" before the end of the school year.