Students come together for fall showcase


Patricia Wei

Seniors Greg Gontier (left) and Aditya Venkatesh (right) rehearse a scene before the fall showcase.

Sunny Li, Design Editor

he audience dies down. The room dims, and the stage is bathed in light. Over the next hour, passionate monologues, heartfelt scenes and tense fights take place onstage. From Nov. 15-17, advanced drama students held a showcase for their annual fall show at Studio 74.
Rather than performing a play as in past years, students directed, produced and wrote various short pieces. Students originally planned to write an act as a class and perform it, but due to literature and drama teacher Naomi Rollins’ leave of absence, they decided to perform as groups instead. Literature and drama teacher Dani Howard stepped in to help students with the fall production.
“[Howard] helps us really have a perspective on what we’re doing,” said junior and lighting technician Srikari Gudipalli. “We are in the advanced class, and we have an idea of what we want to do, but she’s helped us figure out the best way to do it.”
Full run throughs for shows are typically held two weeks in advance to work out technical aspects and put the show together. However, this time around, the drama students had an especially tight schedule, and those rehearsals only took place a few days before the showcase. Despite the difficulties, the showcase was a success.
“It all worked out really well, because the students were amazing. The reason that I was able to do a successful fall showcase is because they’re really on top of it and really knew what they were doing,” Howard said. “Having them act that way and really be on it made my job really easy, and it was so much fun.”
The showcase gave students more freedom to choose what they wanted to express through their different pieces. Though there was an overarching theme of comedy, the pieces dealt with topics ranging from college interviews to secret agents.
The night started off with “Car Keys,” a monologue written and performed by junior Abdullah Ashiq. Ashiq took the role of a reporter who comes across a dead body in a car with no keys. Next was a heartwarming piece titled “When I Grow Up” about a mother who reflects on her own mother while speaking to her daughter.

A piece poking fun at college interviews, “13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interviews,” performed and directed by juniors Shiv Sankhavaram and Stephen Tao, displayed extreme tactics used to succeed in college applications. Continuing with the laughs, the following piece, titled “I Don’t Know,” depicted a secret agent as she attempted to infiltrate an unintelligent mob boss’ poker game. Arguments between a disloyal husband, his wife, his mistress and his mistress’ brother filled “A Fish Called Wanda.” Although these acts were comedic, others tried to elicit different emotions from the audience.

“We want the audience to laugh and enjoy themselves, but for the scenes that deal with darker themes, we are trying to move the audience and communicate ideas about being alone and recovering from traumatic events,” said junior and director of “I Don’t Know” Emma Nguyen.
In the longest piece of the night, “I Love You Pumpkin,” written and directed by junior Deni Ureten, a teenager deals with the trauma of a car accident that killed her brother and struggles against inner demons to overcome her guilt.
Following Ureten’s one act, senior Mohini Adkar’s monologue expressed her character’s hatred for the rich. The final act conveyed the bond between two friends as they conversed at 2 a.m. about one friend’s true love, a mermaid.
Though students performed their pieces individually and in groups, the showcase ultimately brought the whole class together.
“Everyone in the class got involved, which I liked,” Adkar said. “Usually, the way a show works is that you audition, and you get cast as a part. This showcase was more inclusive.”
After the last enthusiastic round of applause, the audience trickled out of the room and it was empty once again. However, drama students look forward to the next time they will be on stage again: the spring musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival in Feb. 2019.