by ISHIKA NAIK, Clarksburg High School
Parties are a thing of the past, for now, due to the pandemic, but desperation is a great motivator to find a solution.
The idea of a quarantine party seems sort of redundant, but Langley High School was able to pull it off through its portrayal of “The Party Hop” quite spectacularly from the safety of their own homes, with filming done via Zoom.
Emma (Abhaya Tyrka) and Ava (Tess Jannery-Barney) were dying to have a night out, but they would never let the still ongoing pandemic harsh their mood. Instead, they “hopped” from one Zoom party to another with their friend Nancy (Talia Rose-Diorio).
As the night extended, they sang a theatrical “Happy Birthday” to a friend while wearing top hats, joined an adult cocktail party, and Ava had her first (virtual) kiss in a bright blue wig. Sounds insane, but being stuck in quarantine for three years takes its toll!
A performance worth mentioning was Isabella Montesinos Davis as Victoria, a mother fed up with her children at the cocktail party. Her scolding was incredibly believable, almost leading the audience to become upset with her kids, as well.
Additionally, Nancy, played by Talia Rose-Diorio, had impeccable comedic timing, as a wonderfully whimsical yet unpredictable college party-goer.
Lastly, the dynamic between Ava, portrayed by Tess Jannery-Barney, and Emma, represented by Abhaya Tyrka, never disappointed. Acting like perky best friends, they always had each other’s backs – even when Ava embarrassed herself having her first kiss.
Glitches and lag naturally come with using any type of online meeting app, but the cast and crew of “The Party Hop” at Langley High took all of the blips in stride, making it a part of the show instead of letting it interrupt. The crew also took advantage of the backgrounds that came with the platform, referencing modern pop culture such as Ladybird, Harry Potter and Tiktok. This helped the audience become much more engaged with the show.
Sound also was well-balanced; whenever background music was played, speaking lines were not drowned out. The choice to have sparsely included underscoring in this show was a smart one, and kept it all very natural.
It’s also tough to manage not talking over each other when using an online platform, but the cast did a wonderful job of it.
Zoom shows are tough to pull off. There’s a lot that can go wrong, but Langley High School was able to power through and turn complications into beautiful additions.
Hopefully soon, Ava will get her real first kiss; though she’ll definitely remember that humiliating screen-to-screen kiss for the rest of her life. Post-pandemic, she’ll be ready for it.
The Sun Gazette partners with the Critics and Awards Program (CAPPIES) to present student-written reviews of local high school theater productions.
For more on the initiative, see the Web site at www.cappies.com/nca/.