Visions of greatness

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

By David Vitrano

BOUTTE – While most seniors may be content to bide time until graduation, Hahnville High School senior Angelle Dufrene just doesn’t have the time — or the desire — to be idle.

“Renaissance” is an adjective that seems to have been coined with her in mind. The self-described “insomniac” can play 14 musical instruments and participates in an amazing 16 extra-curricular activities. But this week saw her notch what may be her greatest achievement to date. On Thursday “Your Guardian Angel,” a play written and directed by Dufrene premiered as a full-length, full-scale production on the high school’s stage.

The road to that day was a long one. Dufrene tried numerous times before she was even allowed to audition for the talented theater program in St. Charles Parish. But once she got her foot in the door, she never looked back. Dufrene now not only is part of the theater program but as president of Hahnville’s Drama Club also imparts her vast-beyond-her-17-years stage knowledge to a new group of students interested in drama.

Dufrene’s own interest in the field started with the big screen. “I’ve always been a really big movie buff,” she said.

That love of film has clearly informed her sensibility as an artist. Her production centers on a group of bank robbers and their hostages, but what transforms the work into more than just B-movie fare is the sense of humanity present in her characters. It’s no wonder, considering she said the inspiration for much of the writing came from her friends.

The script itself started as an entry — in the form of letter — for the young authors contest. But with the urging of her teachers and Dufrene’s own vision, “Your Guardian Angel” was transformed from mere exercise into fully realized drama.

Dufrene hopes that vision comes across to audiences. “I’m hoping tonight the outcome will be good, and everyone will like it,” she said. In fact, for Dufrene the most rewarding aspect of being involved in theater is gaining the audience’s approval and understanding.

One person whose approval she has already gained is Talented Theatre teacher Daniel Ruiz. According to Ruiz, “Of all the students I have ever taught, she has been the most ready to handle this responsibility and has the most potential to succeed in the business.” He added, “She is creative, intelligent, ambitious, confident, authoritative and meticulous. She is a natural director.”

Dufrene hopes others see this in her as well as she prepares for college, where she would like to study film and eventually become a film director.

Although she recognizes the challenges inherent in following such a path, she shares the one element common to all great directors — vision. Besides, Dufrene clearly has never been one to back down from a challenge.

Still, once in a while, the teenager in her manages to peek through. “I can’t believe I’m pulling this off,” she said gleefully.

“Your Guardian Angel” will have its final performance tonight at 7 p.m. in the Hahnville High School auditorium. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.

“It’ll be a performance you’ll never forget,” said the budding director. It’s bound to be one she never forgets either.