Fall Play Review

The Upper School prides itself on being the best in the classroom, on the field, and on stage. Well, Benjamin’s Drama Club proved this statement to be true with a pair of exceptional performances of Distracted.

The first performance was on Fri., Nov. 11th at 7:00 p.m., and the second performance was on Sat., Nov. 12th at 1:30 p.m.; both were in Benjamin Hall.

After careful consideration, Upper School Theatre Director Mr. Jason Peck selected Lisa Loomer’s 2009 family drama to be this year’s fall production. 

In a prefatory statement in the play’s program, Mr. Peck notes, “this play presents a challenging look at modern life. It examines how the bombardment of technology and the inundation of incessant activity and information can so consume and clutter our lives that it has stifled our ability to stay present to the people around us.”

Distracted showcases a family struggling to navigate life with a child who may or may not have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). But behind all that struggle is Loomer’s “looming” question: “What is ADD in an ADD world?”

In an interview talking about her intent for writing the play, Lisa Loomer said, “All of these digital intrusions are designed to make our lives faster, safer, and easier. But, in effect, we get hooked on convenience. With each new advance, technology forces us to go about our day with a new speed and rhythm.”

The cast consisted of seven students, including one representing the Middle School: Harrison Poulakakos (Jesse). The remaining cast consisted of senior Katherine Rodgers (Mama), sophomore David Frear (Dad), senior Arianna Ferry (Natalie and Sherry), sophomore Sage Sorenson (Dr. Daniela Broder and Vera), sophomore Rebekkah Merkel (Dr. Zavala, Dr. Karnes, and Waitress), and sophomore Xan Blount (Dr. Waller, Mrs. Holly, Dr. Doris Jinks, Carolyn, and Nurse).

As the play’s central character, Rodgers did a phenomenal job at giving the audience an abundance of funny moments on stage, demonstrating her wide range of skills. For example, when she was meditating in the opening scene, she was able to connect with the audience in a comical way.

Merkel and Blount deserve to be recognized for their amazing work at seamlessly changing between characters. Everything from their accents to their costume choices made each character unique and distinct in their own way.

Sorenson also should be commended for her ability to transform her personality from scene to scene, going from exuberant to tranquil in certain situations.

The technical elements also played a huge role in the show’s success. All the light and sound cues were smooth and always occurred at the right time. The entire crew put together a couple of great shows, even with a hurricane preventing them from rehearsing just a day before their first performance. Kudos to stage managers Ms. Marina Gasparini and freshmen Sadie Weaver on their capable execution.

Overall, the entire cast demonstrated their impressive talent and understood the message of the show. While there were a few slip-ups here and there, the actors consistently covered them up with emotion and physical movement.

The Benjamin School put on a great production that made the whole audience applaud and laugh. That is the sign of a job well done in show business.

*This review is based on the writer’s attendance of Friday evening’s performance.

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