Last Thursday and Friday, students took to Fisher Theater to perform two nights of one-act plays and monologues. A project from the Invitation to the Theater course, the plays began at 7 pm , each lasting for about 1 hour 50 minutes — and definitely left the audience wanting more.
The cast consisted of 19 upper school students. Half of them were from the class, and the other half was consisted of students who wanted to explore the mysterious art of theater and the marvelous feeling of standing on a stage.
Directed by Mr. Burke Scarbrough and Mr. Ovie Ojeni, with technical direction by Mr. Brad Seymour as well as lighting and sound by Mr. Harry James, both performances were filled with student audiences who appreciated the effort of the actors greatly. On the second night, there were several students who went to see the play again because they had enjoyed it very much the night before.
The monologues and plays were comedy, drama, sci-fi, and a murder mystery.
The most entertaining and best received play was Outcome by S.W. Senek, which is about a married couple waiting for the results of a pregnancy test. Bob and Lisa, played by Osiris Russell-Delano and Naomi Jones, argue over many issues concerning their future if they were to have a baby. Keeping the audience in a never-ending chorus of laughter, the couple showed remarkable chemistry on scene. It was impossible not to be engaged throughout, where the only prop on stage was a sink dividing the couple across the stage, the small stick sitting on an edge.
World Without Memory, a heart-felt play about a man who gets Alzheimer’s, made the audience care for old Bob, played by Connor Black, and his daughter and her husband, played by Valeria Ocando and Wynston Turner, who portrayed the roles splendidly.
The Blizzard by David Ives was a well-staged and designed one-act play that had a lot of potential. This murder mystery noticeably challenged the actors to try and portray both murderers and potential murder victims. Some say comedy is the hardest genre — I could argue that this mystery made me change my mind. Jenny and Neil, played by Aryanna Rosario and Osberto Gomez-Santana were the victims to strangers Salim (Dimitris Beis) and Natasha (Caitlin Chung).
Decoding Fruit, a story about troubled siblings, was well-performed but not all that amusing. Some of the audience lost track of what was happening, but were impressed by the acting abilities of both Staci Grimes and Kline Dickens, who really appeared to be brother and sister while on stage.
The first play to be presented, The Actor’s Nightmare, was as amusing as it was confusing — and intentionally so. The play was very fast-paced and made a lot of references to things not everyone in the audience understood. Nevertheless, it showed hard work from the actors and a well-practiced stage presence. The main character, George (Syl Gibson), had a soliloquy that was very funny for the audience. The executioner (George Palaiologopoulos-Vagenas) had an undeniable presence in stage.
Zombie Love, a sci-fi romantic comedy, was cleverly acted by three girls: two alternated between the role of Walter the zombie and Emily (Mariana Verjan and Nirvana Khan), and another one played the best friend (Elena Gosalvez). This play was very short, and an ending to the one-acts that left the audience slightly confused by the plot twist at the end of the play.
The six monologues were very different from each other, and each presented diverse topics. From a self-written monologue about Venezuela, to an extract from Paradise Lost, to a monologue about equality. The six students were not afraid to stand in the spotlight and speak from their hearts.
Justice in our streets, presented by Staci Grimes, was an excellently-performed monologue and engaging to the audience. The words were meaningful and heartfelt when the actress expressed them. She left a high bar for the rest of the performances, though she was the ninth performance of the play.
Many of the actors were not native English speakers, which one could assume would be a challenge for the directors and for the actors themselves to work on their pronunciation and voice.
“All the international students did pretty great,” said Connor Black, an Upper School student who mentioned his expectations for the plays were exceeded.
This seems to be a common opinion, the play had a very positive impact on everyone who saw it. Only four weeks of work gave way for an amazing two-hour experience, which left us all wishing we could see more.