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FairfaxEducationCAPPIES: Madison students have fun with pair of comedies

CAPPIES: Madison students have fun with pair of comedies

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by ZAIN OMAR, Riverside High School

Double the shows, double the fun. James Madison High School provided audiences with a comedy-filled night with their double feature of “The Literati Awards” and “The PTA Meeting.”

“The Literati Awards” was written by Claire Epstein and Ian McWethy and was published in August of 2018. It tells the story of characters from well-known pieces of literature getting ready for an award show in which some are up for the coveted trophy for “The Greatest Literary Character of All Time.”

It’s a night full of tomfoolery, as all the characters have their own conflicts throughout the show, causing a comical display.

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“The PTA Meeting” is a student-written piece by Melinda Goldfedder and Ashlan O’Malley. It portrays the “new normal” of online meetings – in this case, a PTA meeting. The parents are trying to get through a Monday-morning meeting while all struggling to figure out how Zoom works.

Throughout the show, the audience sees a parent speaking while on mute, one who activated a background and can’t turn it off, and even some not in frame. The show provided a humorous depiction of what life is like now with everything being online while simultaneously creating joy during this hard time for everyone.

The actors in “The Literati Awards,” had a hard task of depicting such well-known literary figures, but all of them executed it perfectly.

Romeo (Jonah Uffelman) and Juliet (Ciara Stefanik) moved in sync as they were dressing for the big night. Uffelman and Stefanik did a brilliant job of keeping the main trope of the characters, but also giving them a teen-like quality that is very reflective of the characters’ true age.

The actors made the use of their space, with Stefanik filming herself in a mirror and the Security Guard (Ben Eggleston) running across the screen while chasing Gollum (Will Bush).

In “The PTA Meeting,” Barry’s mom, (played Coco Pinnock) captivated audiences with her over-the-top energy and her hilarious depiction of a typical “Karen.” The use of her dog as a prop and her extravagant coat really tied the whole act together.

The costuming for “The Literati Awards,” designed by Stella Monner and Sasha Tepp, creatively tied together period pieces with modern red-carpet style and was a focal point throughout the show. The “presenter,” Anna Fairchild (Kira Brombacher) creatively used a hairbrush as a microphone, which added a laughable element to her perky, over the top performance.

“The PTA Meeting” creatively used the format of Zoom and even utilized the chat function during the show. Actor Kieran Warner added a wacky onion filter on her screen halfway through the show, which drove home the act of a clueless parent trying to figure out the online-video chat platform.

Overall, these shows had a rambunctious energy that filled the night with laughter and excitement. From literary characters to your typical “Karen,” James Madison High School had audiences wishing the shows would never end.

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/.

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