Déjà vu

Karishma Mehrotra

"The Odyssey", a tangle of Greek adventures, was a play of precision and perfection 

It’s déjà vu to the extreme. Little snippets of the freshman Literature and Writing class flow back into your brain.

Even before the lights turned off, the audience knew they were in for a show that brought Literature class to life. On March 12, the Odyssey presented perfection and attention to details that fully appealed to every one of our senses. Originally adapted from Mary Zimmerman’s rendition of Robert Fitzgerald’s translation, "The Odyssey" was directed by the immensely experienced Drama teacher Holly Cornelison, who flaunted an amazing skill of precision in this performance. 

The first baffling astonishment was the spectacular, yet simple, set. MVHS plays are known for their consistency and skill in their set designs, but what was most unique about this play was set designer senior Sheiva Khalily’s use of simple menial things to create an abstract feel of the scene. Light blue silk cloth created rivers, angled curtains took the shape of a ship, shadows portrayed cyclops and bed posts transformed into tree branches. The costumes were also coordinated to give each scene a specific color scheme, with the use of shiny cloths and interesting masks.
 
But the appeal didn’t stop just at sight. Throughout the play, the elegant sounds used were well placed to add even more emphasis on the plot. Cymbals became storms, drums portrayed rowing and the transition music was suited to each scene and its emotion. Another aspect that immediately set this spring play apart from previous ones was the use of microphones on stage. Not only did this aid in voice projection, but also created the flexibility to increase the instruments’ volume, which added a whole new level of engagement. 
 
Some of the most difficult jobs, like those of sound engineer sophomore Anna Shabrova, stage manager senior Andrea Donigan, and the rest of the crew, including follow spot operators, sound operator, assistant stage managers, and the deck crew, are backstage. We all hear about the hours of sweat and effort that is put into rehearsals and it all is noticed since their almost flawless finished product has minimal mistakes. 
 
One of the most apparent differences from previous plays could be spotted with the size of the program booklet: the immense size of the cast. This comes with the nature of the play, but with any other director, the stage could have been too crowded or too overwhelming. The blocking of the characters balanced the stage and the certainty of each orderly and distinct movement washed away any feelings of frenzy. 
 
Individually, no actor could be criticized. Every single actor on stage mastered the art of versatility, with some performing up to four characters. Each of them were completely understandable with enunciation and emotional line delivery. Senior Jarryd Alfaro (Odysseus) showed sophistication in the realm of acting and created an extremely enjoyable last MVHS performance. His husky voice and perfect posture convey Odysseus’ aggressiveness and confidence so well that Alfaro easily took the spotlight. Other actors worth a shout out include junior Karina Fathi (Athena) and her intense emotion with slight humorous delivery, junior Stella Ziegler (Circe, Phemios, Others) and her insane control and focus, and junior Kelly Jackson (Muse, Haliterses, Others) and her graceful, courageous movements. 
 
As if just watching these brilliant performances wasn’t enough, many teachers had cameos in the play, including Denae Moore, Viviana Montoya-Hernandez, and David Clarke. The actors who did not have the spotlight, however, are worthy just as much for their never-dying energy, even as mere sheep. Without the group of rambunctious suitors, Odysseus’ crew, Nausicaa and her companions, and more, the show would not have done justice to Homer and his ever-so elaborate tale.
 
Although Homer’s story was excellently portrayed, the play needed to be more adapted to fit the target audience. The nature of the play is lengthy, but the second act could have easily been shortened. It is understandable that every scene of The Odyssey is crucial to the story line, but many of those scenes should have been shortened to adjust for the short-attention spans of high schoolers. Secondly, the choice of play also didn’t target the right audience. As a high school play, teenagers would rather spend a Friday or Saturday night watching a play with light humor and relatable plots, like "Guys and Dolls" or "Grease". Yes, these shows can be considered cliche, but these are the shows teenagers tend to enjoy more.
 
No matter the choice, the execution itself was outstanding. We hear about the tech rehearsals until 10 p.m. and the energy and effort each and every member of the play pours into these productions. Now, take your minds back to freshman year, but instead of merely reading the tangle of adventures, witness a play of perfection.
 
 
 

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