Despite the cancellation of last year’s musical, “The Music Man,” the theatre department jumped straight into the year with a filmed live production of Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.” Pace’s thespians continued their hard work for the annual Winter Showcase which took place Jan. 28 and 29.
Unlike other theatre events, during the Winter Showcase audiences are escorted around campus to various locations. Due to COVID-19, this year some of the scenes were prerecorded and projected onto the screen in the Fine Arts Center. Locations of live scenes included the Seaman Family Student Commons, band room and Fuqua presentation room.
Seniors Olivia Ullmann and Alivia Wynn and junior Rebecca Kann directed the scenes that were pre-recorded. Kann’s scene, called “A Very Good Plan” written by Frank Garland, depicts two friends, Ellie and Clive, plotting to rob an ATM machine via Zoom when a third person, Mark, played by junior Chris Mason, accidentally joins the call.
Ellie, played by junior Madison Auchincloss, and Clive, played by freshman Jackson Allegra, attempt to kick Mark off their call so they can complete their plan. Auchincloss’ portrayal of a character experiencing extreme distress by the confusion of using Zoom is both comical and relatable.
Ultimately, both Ellie and Clive leave the call, leaving Mark his own mini soliloquy to end the scene. Mason is very casual in his speech in which his character confesses to actually liking their plan to blow up the ATM and was willing to join them in their endeavor.
The student commons featured productions directed by senior Denzel Welsh and junior Mollie Meyerowitz. Welsh’s scene came from the play “Tartuffe” which he read in one of his English classes. Meyerowitz both directed and wrote her scene, which she titled “Split Perspective”
The story was told by two narrators, siblings Izzy and Marcus Johnson, played by Allie Campbell and Oliver Loree, respectively. Marcus was a troubled kid who did not do well in school and had no friends while Izzy was the exact opposite.
The scene progresses through their lives as they recall the same important moments but tell the audience what they remember based on their own experiences. Marcus decides mid-scene that he wants his sister to understand the pain that he experiences every day. Loree does an excellent job of portraying this character who is deeply in pain and envious of his sister’s popularity and happiness.
The climax of the scene occurs when Campbell’s character realizes that her brother was present at every tragic event that has occurred in her life, including her grandfather’s death and the disappearance of her dog. Loree then walks over to Campbell where they, together, recall July 22, 2019, the day Marcus kills his sister Izzy. Altogether, a wonderful performance by exquisite actors. Hats off to Meyerowitz for a very interesting and compelling scene to watch.
Last year, a group of three senior boys stole the show performing a hilarious rendition of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” and this year. seniors Harley Ryan, Michael Fu and Jack Caron followed suit. Their scene. “The Pitch,” which was written by all three of them and directed by Ryan, showed the business proposal for a Tinder-like app for senior citizens.
The entrepreneurs, played by Fu and Carson as themselves, shared a hilarious presentation full of images from Betty White giving “the finger” to a horribly drawn supply and demand graph accompanied by large dollar signs representing the “big bucks” they planned on making.
Ryan, who played the potential investor, somehow managed to maintain a serious and confused demeanor as the audience’s laughter escalated with each new presentation slide. The scene concludes as the real presenter shows up on Zoom, and Fu and Carson run out of the room to escape punishment for their scam.
Other highlights from the showcase included junior Jayla Wideman as Jackie in “Dinner is Ready,” written and directed by senior Alivia Wynn, as well as Wynn’s performance as Marmalade, a mother of two, in “Snow Goose,” written and directed by senior Laura Romig.
The show was even more impressive due to the fact that of the eight scenes performed, six were written by students and all were student-directed. All 30 students involved deserve a round of applause for their hard work, and for two successful nights of performances. The next adventure the Pace thespians embark on will be the spring musical, “Mama Mia,” to be performed in April.