“Play On!” A review
By: Rodolfo Perez
When making the attempt to appreciate the high art of theatre, the average drama enthusiast looks for enjoyment through structure, plot, and technique, and goes to be fooled into thinking what they are witnessing on that stage is reality. You know you have found a real work of art when you are unable to distinguish the proper formation of the lines the actor has been practicing to say, and the informal actions of a young thespian experimenting with different styles and methods of acting. In my little experience in the world of drama, I have seen few productions I could call real works of art. I found “Play On!” to be a gem as far as high school theatre goes. After attending the first two performances, I was able to see the creativity both the directors and actors exhibited as the play progressed. A man once told me that a sign of a promising actor is when he or she is able to recognize something has gone wrong, and is able to adapt and build off those mistakes. Upon arriving opening night, I was taken aback by the set. To be blunt, I found the set design to be artfully satisfying! I found the contrast between the hard metal chairs in the early parts of the play and the Victorian style couch and armchairs to be a stroke of brilliance as it added to the time frame of the production and made the audience feel as if they were experiencing the preparatory stages of an amateur play. As far as the actual play went, I was extremely impressed. Powerful performances from Billy (played by the captivating Jared Ellis), Saul (played by Alex Kulak), frustrated director Gerry (played by the amazing Zariya Butler) and the eccentric playwright Phyllis (played by the remarkable Angelica Jarrett) had me and the audience laughing time and time again throughout the evening. Along with them was a superb cast called by directors Joseph Hoyt and Abigail Augustine. As an art enthusiast, it does the theater justice to have such a talented group of actors come on stage and truly create a reality to which the audience can bear witness to the frustration and insecurities that exist in modern theatre. “Play On!” captures the creative process by inserting constant changes in the script and gives insight into the harsh reality that is performance. In terms of negatives I found consistently was the overall tone of the play. I found certain points in the dialogue to be a bit flat, and felt many jokes were not emphasized to the point where the audience could catch them when they were first said. Besides that, I found from the moment the curtain opened, to the thundering conclusion, you are taken on a journey that will leave you laughing in some parts, irritated in others, and sympathetic to the struggles many in the preforming realm have to deal with. That’s what a great production will do to the drama-lover, it will reach into their emotions and bring out the best (and the worst) in everyone who takes the time to appreciate it. A job well done to the cast and crew of the play, and all I can say is: PLAY ON!