Arts & Entertainment

'Night in January' focuses on justice system

Candy Olsen had a key role in Night in January when she was in high school in 1968.

Now the Kamiakin High drama teacher is directing the same play, which opens Jan. 27 in the auditorium at Kamiakin High in Kennewick. It's a joint drama venture between Kamiakin and Kennewick High schools.

Olsen said she chose the challenging story line for this drama for a number of reasons, most importantly to increase awareness of the country's justice system and that it truly does work.

"I also chose this play because it had a good-size cast for the large number of students who try out for plays," she said. "Also, the challenging roles of the two lawyers were well suited for some of our talented drama students."

The play takes place entirely in a courtroom where a woman is on trial for murder. A fun aspect of the show is that audience members will be chosen as jury members.

Taryn Meacham portrays defense attorney Quinn Stevens.

"The hardest part of playing this part is the line memorization," Meacham said. "I have more than 275 lines, including a page and half of long closing arguments."

The prosecuting attorney is played by Joan Flint and she and Meacham have the daunting task of asking all the questions throughout the courtroom drama. And there are no cue cards to read from.

"We have to have all our lines down perfectly because the witnesses can't (speak) their lines if we haven't asked the question," Meacham said.

Defendant Karen Andre is played by Kaelah Phipps.

"The most challenging part of this production was the character herself," Phipps said. "Because the script gave no absolute evidence of my guilt or innocence, I had to decide who I was going to become in order to provide (believability) to this character.

"It was very rewarding to be able to draw the audience in so closely with such a realistic play."

Curtain time is 7 p.m. Jan. 27-28 with a 2 p.m. matinee Jan. 30 in the auditorium at Kamiakin, 600 N. Arthur St. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;