November 2020

The Show Must Go On!

by Gabriel Barton


This year has certainly had a rocky start, and people have been disappointed in a myriad of ways. But the hardships of this year did not stop the new theatre teacher, Mrs. Sweet, and her amazing actors from putting on one of the most hilarious plays I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying. After all, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

The first Central Magnet play was, well, not exactly a play at all. Rather, the premiere was a collection of 5 short plays: Spotlight by Buddy Thomas; Bette and Me, Workout, and Boy Meets Girl all written by Wendy Wasserstein; and When I Snap My Fingers by Bruce Adams


Spotlight


This approximate 10 minute play stars Edward Alverado as the complicated boyfriend Brian; Patricia LaMorte as the dramatic and hysterical girlfriend to Brian, Gail; Seth Savage as the sloppy roommate to Brian, Mickey; and Ashleigh Massengill as Karen (no explanation needed for that name).

Throughout the whole act, Gail is completely paranoid to wondering if she got the lead role in a college. She continually justifies why she must be the one to have to part, and why her nemesis Karen is absolutely wrong for the part. Within the first two minutes, Brian tries to calm Gail down and explain to her that if she doesn’t get the part she wants, then it’s no big deal. But Gail, being the sensitive actress that she is, takes his commentary in all the wrong ways, twisting Brian’s words to make it seem like he wants the formidable Karen to have the lead role.

LaMorte expertly personified the part she was assigned, providing a frantic enough character that kept me on the edge of my seat and laughing with exhaustion.

Mickey then comes into the filthy apartment scene, and, after hearing the worries of Gail, assures her that things could not be worse than his predicament of being assigned a miniscule part in the same play even though he is a senior. After about three minutes of playing “who has it the worse game”, Karen finally steps in the scene. It is always said that the more you hate a character in a play, the better the actor is presenting their role. And, boy, did I HATE that Karen.

With all the characters on stage, Karen uses cunning words and sly tones to try and get inside Gail’s head, making her feel like she is truly a pitiful actress. All the while, she tries to openly seduce Brian! The nerve! Thankfully, Brian angrily kicks her out of the apartment. The anger and frustration was brilliantly presented by Alverado; there was a definite fire in his eyes. In the end, we see that Gail does achieve the lead role and amends are happily made between Brian and she. Bravo!


Bette and me


In this two women act play (and the attende in one scene), Elena Newberry stars as Wendy and Mia Eller as the Bette Midler (Hocus Pocus). Wendy fantasizes what a day with Midler would actually look like: getting their hair done together, makeup professionally affixed, and a nice stroll through Central Park. The opening scene presents Newberry performing an expressive monologue filled with passion and ecstasy about the great Bette.

In just about every other scene, the audience is blessed with lyrical exertations by Eller, gravitating Wendy and the listeners.


Workout


Oh how I wish, dear reader, you could have been seated right beside me to witness comeditic greatness confined to such small time constraints. It truly had me wanting more! I, nor any audience members present, were prepared for Alverado, Robert Deaton, Noel Moore, Emma Wayne, nor Rachel Oppman to come jogging out in 70s/80s workout apparel! I’m talking leg warmers, scrunchies, shortie short shorts (on men), and dizzy rainbow colors clashed with no mercy! I quite literally jumped out of my seat.

Once everyone was in position, with Oppman in the front and the rest of the actors evenly spaced out in a straight line behind her, Oppman commenced in leading a workout. It was as if they were teaching at home workouts, like the ones my mom used to follow along with.

As Oppman is leading the workout, she also self indulges on herself, bragging on various accomplishments that allow her to be so fit (snob). I truly thought the scene couldn’t get any more bone tickling, but as the point of plays is to provide the unexpected, so it completed its objective. I look to the far right of the stage and see Wayne pathetically struggling to keep up with the rest of the crew; gagging for breath, doing half way leg raises and jumping jack, and, best of all, disgustingly staring down the workout instructor. It’s like when someone you absolutely despise answers a question in class right and the teacher applauded them. Yeah, that kind of disgust.

But wait, there’s more! Moore is positioned right beside Wayne and sees her struggle so she happily decides to help Wayne keep up with the workout! Lifting her legs, grabbing her arms for the jumping jacks. But, as most of us know, we hate it when other people have to assist us with anything. So...she...decides...to...strangleMoore!

Oh my goodness, the laughter volume in the auditorium was nothing compared to the medical weases that exhaled through me! And to cap it off, when the instructor ends the workout, Wayne proceeds to pass out and curl up in a ball like a baby until the lights fade. Encore, indeed!



Boy Meets Girl


In this not-so-classic Hallmark plot, Molly, played by Landry Chapman, is waiting at a restaurant table for a friend. After a while of impatient waiting, Caleb Comer as Dan sits down with Molly and offers to leave, asserting that the crowd isn’t exactly for her. The two start to develop feelings for each other, and, after a while of therapy on both ends, decide to get married, their love sealed by the Queen, played by Emma Wayne. It was a very hasty play, but enjoyable all the more. Chapman displayed a very loveable character whom I am sure the audience felt quite entranced to.

This play was rather on the more serious side (not more so than Spotlight), that is until we get to the marriage scene. Although the play seems to be set in a modern era, the boy and girl are interestingly joined together in matrimony by a Queen, a rather historic tradition. But I am wise to not question the methods of Theatre. Anyway, Wayne portrayed an excellent royal, satirically emphasizing the accent and sophistication, adding the perfect amount of humor and satisfaction; a perfect bow on the scene.


When I Snap My Fingers


When it comes to this final act, Mrs. Sweet definitely saved the best for last. It wasn’t the best because of the actors involved, amazing though they were, but rather it was for the content that presented itself.

The act opens up to a hypnotist (Andy Neal) informing his volunteers of the junctions he is about to perform on them. The volunteers consist of the married couple Robert and Maria Moffet (played by Deaton and Canton Taylor), and two other volunteers who are not specified in the play but are played by Seth Savage and Newburry. The married couple’s daughter, Sally Moffet (Noel Moore), defiantly sits in the audience, hating the Hypnotist for his tricks. The Hypnotist uses his crafts to make the husband: cry like a baby when he hears the word “baby”, imagine everyone nude when he hears “glasses”, start bursting out laughing when he hears “funeral”, and sing spontaneously when he hears “music”. For the wife, when she hears: “Romeo” she falls in love with the first person she sees; “alcohol” she acts completely drunk; “party” she crys; “pants” becomes a stripper!

But the plot thickens when the Hypnotist is about to untrance the trigger words, but is unfortunately (well unfortunate for the Moffets but fortunate for the audience) interrupted by a fire alarm! Now, the Moffets are subject to those certain trigger words that are unknown to them. Oh yeah, Robert has his boss coming over for a dinner party tomorrow, AND THEY’RE STILL UNDER THE SPELL. Of course, every trigger word is spoken, either by accident or when the daughter gets angry and decides to embarrass them in front of his boss (Colten Schmidt) and boss’s southern accented wife (Emma Wayne)


There truly is no limit to Wayne’s spontaneous dramas. Not to mention, Schmidt’s crucially solemn face throughout the tragedy of a dinner. I don’t know how he kept his laughs from erupting. I would have been clenching my teeth, almost breaking them, to contain the squeals!


Bravo to all, and I can’t wait for the next performance!