Northland High School students to perform 'Love and Deceit' in director's debut

It's a word Alfonso Bryson shan't forget any time soon.

Shan't? What is that?

The contraction of shall not, considered old-fashioned in the United States and dating its origins back to the 1660s, showed up in a bit of dialogue for the Northland High School student's role in the upcoming drama department production of "Love and Deceit: An Evening of Vintage One-Acts."

Performances are scheduled in the auditorium of the school, 1919 Northcliff Drive, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17. Tickets cost $5.

The show, which features four short plays all set in the 1920s in the first act, marks the directing debut of Lori B. Cannon, who now shares drama department duties at Northland with veteran English teacher Julia Huffner.

Huffner has the necessary certification to teach the theater survey, technical production and acting courses while Cannon, who has worked with special education students at Northland for the past 25 years, is handling play selection and directing.

Having walked into the post a little more than two months ago, Cannon admitted being a first-time director has been a bit of baptism by fire.

"I didn't know how to work the light board or the sound board," she said prior to a rehearsal last week. "I didn't know how to put in a requisition. I do know acting."

Cannon is a member of Actors' Equity, a labor union representing actors and stage managers in live theatrical performances. She recently was in an Evolution Theatre show and appeared in a CATCO production last year.

For her inaugural directing effort, Cannon said she chose plays that "show what life and love was like in the Roaring '20s," all of which have the themes of love and deceit running through them.

That's how Bryson ran smack into "shan't."

"One of the things that was outstanding about working with the kids is getting them so they can see that there's nothing new under the sun, just new ways of saying it," Cannon said.

"I learned it's really different, the style and the way they talked," said senior cast member Deserae Jackson, who is in her third play at Northland.

"The language is so much different," said Cincere Engram, another senior in "Love and Deceit."

"It was a lot of fun working with these guys because everyone has a common goal, which is to make a good production for the people who come out to visit," he said.

Senior Jacob Sullivan, who was in two plays directed by White last year, is learning Cannon's approach.

"She's got a good vision of how things should look," he said.

"It's been a little challenging to learn the lines and the meaning," Bryson admitted.

He shan't forget shan't, though.