By: Natalie Hovanesian
The members of a small town discuss what they would have liked to do differently in their past. The only thing is that they’re dead.
The upcoming Advanced Drama Class play, “Spoon River Anthology,” involves a mysterious, dramatic, and exhilarating plot that is very distinct. It will premiere in the auditorium on Oct. 21and 22 at 7:30 p.m. for $5.
The cast is preparing to mesmerize audiences, who will be sitting on stage, with this dramatic play based on Edgar Lee Masters’ original poem.
It takes place in the town of “Spoon River” where the deceased talk about their lives, regrets, problems, secrets, and victories. The dead citizens of the small and quiet town reveal the truths and irrationalities of modern life.
The poem has an assortment of short passages that will be recited by each performer. The entire play is a series of monologues that explains a certain character’s life. In one scene, a character will be performing, talking about his life, and in the following scene, a different character will be on stage.
The performers have multiple roles because there is quite a number of characters in the original poem. Drama teacher Dave Huber feels that it is a “great workshop for the advanced drama students” because the cast members have to work as a group and communicate with each other in order to understand the relationship between the characters.
Although there are not any lead characters, some are mentioned in other monologues more than others. Most are also in the monologues of other characters. The more characters are introduced to the audience, the more the play connects, as each character has a piece of the story.
“Since [the characters] are not always honest, it’s up to the audience to see everything and figure out the real story behind the otherwise average town of Spoon River,” Jonna Henderson (’13) said, who plays Pauline Barrett, George Gray, Mrs. Sibley, and Actor One.
The cast has also taken a new approach to this play, as they have been analyzing each character.
“Finding out the characters’ motivations makes the play more enriching and enjoyable to watch,” Henderson said.
One of her characters, Pauline Barrett, is one who undergoes a major surgery. She is despondent and feels useless to her husband. Her guilt leads to her suicide.
According to junior Kristine Paguinto (Ollie McGee, Hannah Armstrong, Mabel Osborne, Petit the Poet) the play has a very unique aspect because it contains inner monologues of the characters, though there is almost no interaction between them. One of her characters, Ollie McGee, is one who complains about her past life with her husband.
Junior Vivek Patel (Knowlt Hoheimer, A.D. Blood, Willard Fluke, Reverend Sibley) feels it is a unique play because it “involves a lot of emotion.”
Willard Fluke (Patel) is a man who cheated on his wife and got syphilis. He feels guilty for doing so, but he did not die from his disease; instead, his daughter had to suffer the consequences of being born blind. When he is confessing at church for the sin, he sees his daughter and dies because he cannot handle confessing that he is responsible for her pain.
The cast members as a whole are thrilled to be presenting this upcoming play.
“I’m really excited and nervous at the same time,” Sheena Bandzharian (’12) (Lydia Puckett, Daisy Fraser, Zilpha Marsh, Actress Four) said.
Lydia Puckett (Bandzharian), is linked to Knowlt Hoheimere (Patel) because she explains the fact that she feels guilty for her actions involving Hoheimere.
According to senior Alina Karimian (Walter Simmons, Emily, Actress Two, Aner Clute), there are also elements of humor because everyone is talking about each other and complaining about their past in a comical way. But the play “[focuses more on] the traumatizing deaths” of the fellow town members.
“It’s really powerful,” Huber said. “[The characters] create a challenge for the actor, which is to develop a unique character each time
that the audience can empathize with.”