La Jolla High School drama department presents ‘From Up Here’

By Diana Polyak

Student Intern

The La Jolla High School Theater Department is preparing for opening night of its fall drama, the 2008 award-winning Broadway hit, “From Up Here,” at the school’s Parker Auditorium, Nov. 17-20.

The play by Liz Flahive, is directed by drama teacher Ann Boutelle. “From Up Here” deals with the pressures of being a teenager in the 21


century. It shines a light on family dynamics, especially when a teen makes a frighteningly wrong decision.

Boutelle said of the play, “In a dramatic and often humorous way, it explores the reasons for and the realities of breaking down and picking oneself up again.”

The plot addresses the issue of bullying and the reality of shootings that occur in American high schools, presenting the misfit adolescent as a potentially loose cannon.

Sara Phelps, a junior and two-year member of the theater department, plays “Caroline,” a 32-year-old Peace Corps worker and sister to “Grace,” the mother of the teen in question, played by senior Katheryne Penny, a three-year member of the theater department.

Phelps said she is interested in pursuing community theater after high school. Penny is devoted to becoming a professional dancer/singer/actress.

They both agreed that it is challenging to play someone of an older age. Phelps said the role has made her more aware of the impact our words have on others. “Words can hurt or help – what we say makes a difference,” she said.

Penny said her role has led her to a deeper appreciation of adults, especially her parents. She has been observing them to watch how they react to problems and situations. She said she is much more aware of how hard it can be to parent a teenager.

The actors agreed, “The play is going to be great!” They pointed out that it is a totally different type of play than those often done at LJHS — modern and a bit edgy. “We are proud and excited to be part of such a poignant and modern production.”

The number of students involved in the theater department varies from show to show. In this production, there are nine actors, two stage managers, a props chief, a lighting designer and a sound designer.

In addition, the tech theater class of 24 students is building the sets and hanging the lights. There are also 25 students running the box office and the concession stand.

The cast has been rehearsing daily for three-hour stints after school and on weekends. The theater department produces four plays a year. The next is the musical “Sweet Charity,” scheduled for February 2011.

If you go


“From Up Here”


Mature PG-13 for language


3 and 7 p.m. Nov. 17-20


La Jolla High School Parker Auditorium, 750 Nautilus Street.


$10-$7, at the Financial Office and Box Office at LJHS

The Cast

Kenny: Alex McMahon

Daniel: Jeff Thompson

Lauren: Ilana Eisen

Grace: Katheryne Penny

Caroline: Sara Phelps

Charlie: Kevin Cruz

Kate: Emily Graily

Ms. Goldberger: Alexander Tonks

Officer Stevens: Andrea Nathan-Bensuss

Lighting: Steve Wilkinson

Stage managers: Hannah Orr, Hallie Bodenstab

Set design: Katheryne Ward, Ann Boutelle

Costume design: Katheryne Ward

Volunteers needed for future productions

• Construction professionals to offer training, help with set building

• Seamstresses to make costumes

• Gal Fridays for refreshments, publicity, ticket sales, finding props

• Director Ann Boutelle: (858) 454-3081, ext. 4402