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El Dorado Hills drama students delve into Agatha Christie mystery

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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For Oak Ridge High School drama teacher Janet Henke, coordinating more than two dozen student actors and stagehands the day before a play is to open is just another day at the office. Henke, a Cameron Park resident, has taught drama at the school for four years, but has been a teacher there for 16 years. Her education career, in total, has spanned three decades. “They are doing a brilliant job,” Henke said of her students, who were in preparation for their last rehearsal before the curtains opened the next night. This year the kids are taking on Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” “I’m from England so I’ve been coaching them on dialects,” she said. “Sometimes they slip in and out, but they’re getting better. We haven’t even had five weeks to put it together.” To help get the play ready, she enlisted the help of her husband and a former student. “Luke Rolls, who is now at Folsom Lake College, oversaw the set design and construction and lighting,” she said. Henke’s passion for theater comes through in her work. “I just love it,” she said. “Growing up in England, I used to go to a lot of plays. … When I see the growth in the kids, (it’s rewarding). They start out kind of small and then they start to develop the characters and it becomes a real quality piece.” She said the play deals with adult themes, such as murder, but it is appropriate for the entire family. “We tried to soften the drinking and smoking,” Henke said. “There’s no real sexual innuendo. It’s a long play so young children would get kind of tired.” She said Christie’s comedic bits add a light-hearted touch. “She’s really good at that,” she said. The play features 11 cast members, five understudies and about a dozen stagehands working lights, sound, curtains and props. To learn more, visit oakridgedrama.org. * * * KNOW AND GO “And Then There Were None” When: 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. matinee Saturday and Sunday, through March 18 Where: Oak Ridge High School theater, 1120 Harvard Way, El Dorado Hills Tickets: $12 adult, $10 students/seniors, $8 for students with ASB cards Information: oakridgedrama.org, (916) 947-7529