For the 2022-2023 school year, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Casady School. In school, there are sports, clubs, activities, and of course, acting. Mr. Dema has been Casady’s drama teacher since 2015 and has been directing plays for the Upper and Middle Divisions.
Mr. Dema had an interesting background before becoming Casady’s drama teacher. He was born in Fier, Albania, located on the southwest coast of Albania, and came to the United States 28 years ago, while also becoming a US citizen 5 years ago. Mr. Dema became interested in drama as he “watched my older sister and I thought it looked fun. I saw her being a person other than who she was in real life, and I watched a lot of Saturday Night Live and saw they created fun characters.”
He described himself as a “fun, awkward eighth grader who tried out a play with a funny voice and got into the play.” He enjoyed acting in plays as a kid: “I had a great time and we performed for the whole school, and I loved the laughter and applause. People were nice to me after the play, and I saw it as a way I could fit in and have fun doing it.”
As a teenager, Mr Dema went to Bloomington High School North in Indiana, where he did many shows. He then went to Oklahoma City University for college and received his major in Acting. When Mr. Dema attended college in Oklahoma, he lived across the street from Casady, but never knew about it. “The band teacher, Ms. Hale, a dear friend of mine from college, told me there was going to be a theater job at Casady, so I applied and got the job and loved it ever since.”
Mr. Dema has directed 20 plays at Casady School. Out of these, however, one play really stood out to him. “Each play is its own challenge. I pick them because I know I will enjoy directing them, but the one that stands out was A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Mr. Dema recalled that he had so much fun directing that play and has never “laughed so hard.”
He described Casady as a home to him, and he has “found home wherever I have been, and Casady has been my home for eight years.” Mr. Dema sees Casady “Continuing as a beacon of education in a blossoming city like Oklahoma, and it will have its ups and downs, but I see it still standing in the next 75 years.”
Mr. Dema is excited to direct many new plays in the future. He is currently directing the upcoming musical, The Music Man, which will include Casady alumni, UD, and MD teachers and students. The Music Man is about a traveling con man named Harold Hill arriving in River City who convinces the locals to start a band by purchasing uniforms and instruments from him. The musical will be performed in the Fee Theater on November 11th-13th and Mr. Dema is excited to see its outcomes and perform many exciting new productions in the future.