Make sure to catch "M*A*S*H" this weekend at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School. New JDHS theater director Michaela Moore, with veteran techie Lucas Hoiland, have conspired to produce a very professional production with 43 wildly enthusiastic students.
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The show is high energy and features some fancy footwork, lots of laughs and a blast into the past.
The original "M*A*S*H" movie was a reaction to the physical and psychological wounds created by the Korean War. The television series (that many of these kids' parents will remember from their own high school days) was a little vague about setting, but was clearly aired at the time as an antidote to the horrors of the Vietnam War.
For those of you who might have missed M*A*S*H in any version, the acronym stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and features renegade surgeons Hawkeye and Duke, with the infamous no-nonsense nurse nick-named "Hot Lips" O'Houlihan.
These characters are well cast with an angular and uninhibited Gus Browning as Hawkeye, his sidekick played gracefully by David Easaw and Amanda Edwards saucily playing O'Houlihan.
Other notable performances came from the director's daughter, Shanae'a Moore, as a silly, snorting secretary; Mary Erickson as the gutsy and sympathetic head nurse; and the colorful chorus girls (Haley Nelson, Cate Ross, Anne Gissel, Laura May Fees and Emily Waste), who provide a different genre of comic relief and colorful contrast to the otherwise drab GI costumes.
There isn't exactly a storyline, but rather a series of vignettes, more or less intertwined around helping a favorite local "mess boy" achieve his dream of attending medical school in America. Hearing his marvelous "Korean" accent is reason enough to attend this play. The role of "Ho-Jon" was possibly my favorite, with Jurgen Rieselbach very convincingly playing the affable Asiatic gofer for the surgeons.
The whole show is upbeat and entertaining, which was great, but I couldn't help but wonder how much backstage discussion, if any, occurred about the horrors of the current war.
Emily Kane is a naturopathic doctor and Juneau resident. She has a column, Break a Leg, in the Hooligan.