by ELANA KAPLAN, Fairfax High School
The “buddy system” is a familiar idea to most people, but was taken to a whole new level by Langley High School’s production of “Never Swim Alone.”
A captivating show written by Canadian playwright Daniel Maclvor, the production follows the story of two longtime friends in a competition of masculinity. It features two men and a referee who decided the winner of each round. The men competed throughout the show to find out who was the better man, while the show discussed themes such as selfishness, guilt and missing the big picture.
The three senior actors reflected their four years at Langley through their intense chemistry and timing. The men, A. Francis DeLorenzo (played by Cole Sitilides) and William “Bill” Wade (played by Leland Hao), were extremely well-rehearsed, reciting powerful lines in perfect time with one another throughout the duration of the show.
Although it was a small cast, the energy never dipped. The referee (played by Hannah Toronto) was always acting, even when she had long stretches without lines. The stage combat done by the men was incredibly realistic and enhanced the amazing physicality of all three actors.
Enhancing the actors’ performances was the amazing collaboration between those on and off the stage.
Sound, by Teddy Spaner, was clear and at a good volume. It had no noticeable issues, which allowed for the show to have little extra distraction.
The lighting, by Mary Muir and Kira Lentz, reflected the mood with subtle changes as well as color changes, which complemented the work done on stage by the actors.
Ella Smith, who was in charge of costumes, did a wonderful job at matching them to what was discussed in the script. The costuming aided in the storytelling of the piece and the characterization of each role, highlighting the two men’s similarities at face value, urging audiences to look even closer to identify their differences.
The time and effort that were clearly put into “Never Swim Alone” created a marvelous piece, highlighting themes of competition, masculinity and selfishness. The students of Langley High School, in only half an hour, managed to make a compelling and thought-provoking show.
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/.