Arts and Entertainment

Freshmen light up South’s stage in Taking the Call

By Denebola
Published: November 2008

arts.jpgBy Shayna Sage

A woman visits her boyfriend’s dead wife at the cemetery, a group of dysfunctional amateur magicians poke fun at each other while showing off their so-called “magic skills, a delusional woman thinks that her soul can float outside of her body, and a set of Barbie dolls comes to life when their owner leaves the house.

These are only a few of the amazing ten-minute skits performed during the freshman play, Taking the Call, on November 20-22.

There is a goldmine of new actors in the class of 2012 who will definitely take the South Stage program to new heights. Not only is the freshman play a good opportunity for freshmen to learn, but it also gives upperclassmen firsthand experience in directing and stage managing.

“It’s been great to be a part of ushering a new group of kids into South, sophomore Gabe Goodman, a director this year and a veteran actor from last year’s Superhuman, said.

“The freshman play not only displays the talent we have in the newest students, but it also gets them acquainted with what it’s like to be in a show here at South. Sharing in the process of doing a show and also welcoming them into a greater community has been equally as important to me as a director as the play itself, Goodman said.

The first ten-minute play is called Larry Takes the Call. It begins with a confused man named Larry in a waiting room. It is a shock to the system when God is introduced in a wheelchair, the polar opposite of the “accepted image of God. This makes the skit more watchable, and more enjoyable. God, who in this play is female, is played by sophomore Abi Oshins. She has a bubbly personality and displays human-like qualities.

God and Larry’s relationship is determined by the esteemed level of acting in this skit. Their act’s believablily stems from Larry’s convincing awkwardness and God’s caring and happy demeanor.

God is a bit like Dory from Finding Nemo, persistently peppy with a short attention span. God requests that Larry, an average person who works at Borders, become a prophet. Although he is tentative at first, he ultimately accepts God’s position, and the skit then comes to an end.

One thing these one-acts all had in common, despite their varying plotlines, was their overarching theme of communication. Some did not exhibit this as explicitly as Taking the Call, but they all illustrated it beautifully nonetheless.

Dining Outdoors, superbly directed by juniors Mariana Cohen and Meghna Nandi, is about two friends named Nicole, freshman Jackie Lebovitz,  and Julia, freshman Sarah Irwin, who sit down to a meal after enduring a long day of sales at the mall.

Nicole, a supercilious, bitter snob, critiques everyone’s imperfections, including her waiter, Mike, played by freshman Brett Gershkowitz. The actors made the audience feel as though they were sitting at the table next to Julia and Nicole, witnessing their experiences at the restaurant.

“I think it’s a good way for people to express themselves, and step into other people’s shoes, Gershkowitz said of the play. “Although some may not have acting as their number one activity, it is something everyone can participate in without the fear of being ‘Ëœcut’ or competing with the older kids. It really opened my mind, and helped me think about my future in the South Stage program.

The more serious but equally enjoyable skit Stop Rain, directed by sophomores Gabe Goodman and Harry Neff, is about the hardships of an open adoption – an adoption in which the biological mother is a part of the child’s life.

The scene starts with Rain, the biological mother played by sophomore Tanya Lyon, and  Marla, the adoptive mother played by freshman Meital Goldberg, making small talk at a bus stop. The dialogue heats up, and the audience begins to feel engaged and totally informed about what is going on.

Alone, Rain talks about how hard it is for her to have let her son go, even though she knows it was the right thing for her to do. After ten short minutes, the skit ends, and the audience is left in a heart wrenching state, wanting to see more.

The actresses in the skit committed 100 percent to their roles and portrayed the emotions convincingly.

Another key factor to the play’s appeal was the costumes. Rain’s, which consisted of blue jeans and a cut off plaid shirt, gave her the simple girl feel, which is exactly what seemed to be intended for the character.

The adoptive mother, a successful businesswoman, wore a blue suit with her hair pulled back in a bun, giving her the attitude of a mother and a powerful professional. The contrast of the costumes made the skit more believable.

After each skit, the stage was reset for the one that followed. This benefitted the play as a whole because it maintained the uniqueness of each individual sketch.

Another bonus of having set changes was that it allowed the audience some time to reflect on each skit and recharge their collective attention span.

After seeing Taking the Call, it is safe to say that the freshman class of 2012 has more than earned their right to be the successors of South Stage.

Without a doubt, they will “take the call, and step up to prove to the rest of Newton South that they are worthy of handling even more demanding roles in the future.

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