New high school drama teacher filling vital role

November 20, 2002 11:00 pm

By JASON ECK

There's a new man behind the scenes at Sonora High School.

His name is Kevin Cline, and no, he's not the Hollywood actor of "A Fish Called Wanda" fame.

He's an active, energy-filled drama teacher who has brought a new style and enthusiasm to a group of aspiring actors and students who are giving theater a try for the first time.

Cline replaces longtime drama and English teacher Sherry Juhl, a popular teacher who left to take a job at Johansen High School in Modesto.

Cline, originally from Concord, said he's happy to be in Sonora.

"It's a beautiful theater, and with the program that's already here, it's a program that I didn't want to give up," he said.

This is Cline's first job in a small town. He has worked in Portland, Ore., the East San Francisco Bay Area and most recently at Drake High School in Marin. He also built a drama program at a new high school in Oakley, and believes that experience will help him bring new ideas to Sonora.

Cline inherits a strong drama program built over the past decade at Sonora High School. Under Juhl's leadership, the program added an advanced class to its two beginning classes.

Cline is teaching two freshman English classes and three drama classes — two beginning and one advanced class. He said the disciplines go hand in hand.

Cline said he hopes to build on the already successful program. He was ambitious this semester — maybe a bit too ambitious he admits — by having students study and perform two plays.

The first, "Inherit the Wind," was put on earlier this semester and was a success, Cline said.

On Friday, the drama department will present "The Good Woman of Setzuan (previously Szechuan)," a German parable about the gods coming to Earth in search of a thoroughly good person. They encounter a good-hearted but penniless prostitute who, to muster sufficient ruthlessness to survive in an evil world, disguises herself as a man.

The one-night performance, put on by Cline's advanced drama class, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Sonora High School auditorium. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students and seniors.