By Mia Kweskin, Parkway Central High
Life is good and love is strange, and sometimes, even bullies change. Holt High School set out to teach crucial lessons about the bullying epidemic by creating “an evening of introspection” with their production of The Bully Plays and The Long View.
The first act consisted of five individual skits from The Bully Plays. The five individual pieces ranged from a focus on the typical schoolyard bully to a not-so-typical mime bully. Each skit was threaded together with the theme of standing up to bullies in order to make a change.
For their second act, Holt incorporated a one-act with these same themes. The Long View by Alan Haehnel tells the story of a group of high school students as they look back on their lives and on a school fight that forever impacted their perspectives.
A shining skit from the first act was A Bully There Be featuring Karly Cavanaugh as Serving Wench, Riley Grady as Prince, and Andrew Milhous as Jester. The three transformed the stage from the minute they stepped on it. In particular, Grady’s superb comedic timing brought his character to life.
Not to be overlooked was the skit Nobody Nose (The Trouble I’ve Seen) starring Wyatt Hensel and Justin Bradbury as two comical red nosed mimes who torment a timid blue nosed mime played by Ellie Simms. Despite being limited to solely body movement, Hensel, Bradbury, and Simms excelled in creating a silent but potent message about bullying.
The Long View showed the cast’s high energy level and commitment to the themes of the evening. Will Pendergast led the one-act cast with his emotional portrayal of Travis, the bully with a hidden heart and a tragic future.
Alex Dyer stole the second-act with her hilarious characterization of Sean, the protective best friend of Travis’ ex-girlfriend Holly. Other notable performances included Danielle Kimbrel as the class gossip Tori and Andrew Milhous as the adorably nerdy Zachary.
The set (Chris Geerling, Patrick Rauschelbach) effectively expressed the theme of the night by placing words such as Tease, Judge, and Courage on a beautifully simple red and blue background. The Facebook projection (Lydia Richardson) during the Flash Mob skit was the perfect addition to the cyber bullying storyline.
A special touch to the production was the unique marketing concept (Allison Laws, Lydia Richardson, Morgan Chowning). Students silently held signs with personal phrases such as “They made fun of me without knowing I have dyslexia” as audience members walked in setting the tone of introspection.
A major issue throughout the show was distracting backstage whispering and talking. Likewise, actors often tripped over lines making it difficult to understand the important content of the show. During the second act, the lighting, meant to create a dramatic atmosphere for monologues, often left actors in the dark for their first few lines.
Despite these setbacks, Holt High School persevered in their fight against bullying successfully creating "an evening of introspection."
This review was submitted by The Cappies, a program that trains high school theater and journalism students as critics. The students then attend shows at other schools, write reviews and publish those reviews in local news outlets. At the end of the year, student critics vote for awards that are presented at a formal Cappies Gala.