by Catherine Rutley and Aysha Salam
The halls of Sharon High School are buzzing with excitement; the first half of the year has drawn to a close, senioritis is at an all-time high, and the Sharon High School Theatre Company has gone into over-drive in the final weeks before the premiere of the Student Directed Plays, three highly-anticipated productions produced entirely by student members of the SHS Theatre Company members.
Senior and first-time playwright Ilana Sawyer sets a dark and eerie tone with Tunnel Vision, the story of a troubled high-schooler, Ralph (Alex Guenette), who is struggling with psychological issues and isolation as he muddles through high school. The show eventually morphs into an optimistic tale, and with that, Ilana intends to show that hope is worth having even in our darkest moments. The stress and mental strain undergone by the protagonist are indubitably common themes for high school students (especially with the memories of midyears still fresh in our minds). Sawyer and assistant director Jill Sweetman have been rehearsing with their talented actors diligently, and as opening night approaches, they share that they have last-minute surprises in store to take their production to the next level.
The tone of the production shifts from intense to hilarious with the next show in the series—Almost, Maine, a one-act play comprised of quirky vignettes about love and romance, is being directed by Henry Saniuk and Drew Maidment. Combatting the seriousness of Tunnel Vision, Almost, Maine explores the ups and downs of relationships. This play includes spine-tingling first kisses, hilarious punch lines, and heart-wrenching goodbyes… some things that teenage romantics may know a little something about.
Junior Ethan Aronson closes the set with his intriguing satirical play, Death by Television. This show delves into the modern dependence on media and how our culture is shaped by this dependence. Attention, all Tweeters and Facebookers - this one is for you! Accompanied by sophomore and assistant director Ben Brack, Aronson hopes to “make the audience laugh… and then think” (sounds a little like an English class with Ms. Whall!) as he takes them on a journey through a world ruled by the media.
As in past years, the Student-Directed performances will display the talent and character of the SHS students, showing a different side of the theatre company than was shown in the high-energy musical that was this past season’s The Wedding Singer. The student-directed shows give the high-schoolers a chance to direct their own creations and provide an outlet for those students who would rather perform Shakespeare than Sondheim. The hard work that has been put in by everyone involved will shine on February 8th and 9th at 7:00 pm when the one-acts take the stage at Sharon High School.