Maw WheelerAnisa Shamis Cox
Sara WheelerLee Karin Lampard
Etta BaileyJeannette Thomas
Mrs. NicholsLee Donnelly
Mr. NicholsThomas Wayne

Anisa Shamis-Cox
Lee Karin Lampard
Jeannette Thomas
Lee Donnelly

R&E Restaurants & Entertainment January 22, 1998

Don't tip-toe around this elephant

By Ruth Lepper

POWAY - Granite Hills High School teacher Jeannette Thomas is in her debut performance at Poway Performing Arts Center in the poignant drama, "going to see the elephant.'

An emotional story of four women living in Kansas in the 1870s, it's the struggle for inner peace amid the grind of daily life on the prairie.

Thomas plays Etta, a troubled young woman who was captured by the Cheyennes and lived with them for 18 months. Her ordeal continues to haunt her even though her well-meaning friends are trying to quell the memories. Thomas has captured Etta's spirit.

Thomas displays a natural talent for both acting and directing, as evidenced by her award- winning direction of "quilters' a couple of years ago at lamplighters community theater.

When Director Linda Orr first read the script for 'Going to See the Elephant,' she recognized it for the powerful piece it has turned out to be.

Lee Karin Lampard lends a dynamic personality and talent to the character of Sara, a prairie woman, dependent upon her stubborn mother-in-law, gravely concerned for her troubled neighbor and somewhat in awe of an unexpected visitor from New York. Anisa Shamis Cox is the forceful Maw Wheeler, a b actor for a b character. Maw is ready to move on, hence the phrase, "going to see the elephant." Loosely translated, it means wanting to go somewhere you haven't been before, to see what's out there.

Lee Donnelly plays Helene Nichols, the displaced New Yorker who wants only to return to her home. Her ailing husband keeps this from happening, to the point where she may have to leave him behind in Maw's capable hands.

Donnelly's character undergoes personality changes, climaxing with an out-of-control burst of anger. Donnelly tackles it -with boldness and confidence.

Thomas Wayne lends his voice to Mr. Nichols, although the character never ventures onto the stage.

"going to see the elephant. was created by karen hensel, patti johns, elana kent, sylvia meredith, elizabeth lloyd shaw and laura toffenetti. powpacs production is directed by linda orr and produced by jim payton and russell orr.

Assistantdirector is Annette Spadafore.

Set designer Johnn 0. Rand hauled in truckloads of sod to emphasize the Kansas prairie. Cindy Swan's crude costumes enhance the overall effect.

"going to see the elephant" continues through Feb. 8 with performances 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are for general admission and for seniors. Call 679-8085 for reservations. Poway Performing Arts Center is located at 13250 Poway Road in Poway.

Ruth Lepper is a freelance theater critic.

ProducersRussell Orr, Jim PaytonCostume DesignCindy Swan
DirectorLinda D. OrrHouse ManagersBrenda & Chris Robinson
Assistant DirectorAnnette SpadaforePhotography/TD>Tony Eisenhower
Stage ManagersSean Capshaw, Julie AndersonVideo TapingJohn Heinen
Set DesignJohnn O. RandProgramNan Katona
Set ConstructionJohnn O. Rand, Chris Robinson, Sharon VermeulenProgram CoverJim Millard
Lighting DesignRussell OrrPublicityNan Katona
Lighting TechnicianWil CrenshawTicketsJim Millard
Sound DesignLou AllianoHospitalityC'Dale Gross, Kristin Hurley, Nan Katona, Chaike Levine, Kathy McCafferty, Enid Munk, Paula Pelletier, mary Lou Reyen, Barbara Seagren, Mary and Bill Thomas
Sound TechnicianTom Crenshaw