“D.O.A.”: Review

Sammy Keating

Above, junior Melissa Smith, senior Liam Fay and sophomore Jackson DiIanni perform in this year's fall play, "D.O.A." WSPN's Sammy Keating reviewed the WHSTE production.

This past Wednesday was opening night for the WHS Theater Ensemble’s fall play, Dead on Arrival (D.O.A.).

I am proud of the fact that in my four years at WHS, I have seen the fall play every year. No matter how many times I see a WHSTE production, I am always surprised by the amount of creativity and personal touches the cast adds to its productions, and this year was no different.

Although the plot of the play is very confusing in writing (if you’re going to see the play, I recommend reading the program beforehand, it’s very informative), it makes more sense once it’s on stage.

In basic terms, in the 1960s, Frank Bigelow, played by senior Nick Hebert, is poisoned at a party, and he finds out he only has a certain number of hours to live. He spends his final hours trying to discover who poisoned him. Meanwhile, F.B.I. agents in 1983 have opened Bigelow’s cold case and are also trying to solve the mystery of who killed him.

The plot often switches time periods and combines characters from the different periods. If I had to put a label on it, I’d say the whole thing is a mixture of “Mad Men,” “Cold Case” and “The Twilight Zone.”

If that sounds confusing to you, don’t worry, I didn’t totally get it either. With the exception of last year’s, “Voices From the Fire,” I have left every WHSTE fall play confused and thinking, “what did I just watch?”

With that being said, despite the confusing plot, the acting in the play was impressive. Sophomores Sten Shearer, Thomas Leacu and Jackson DiIanni all did very well and fit their characters perfectly.

Other standouts included senior Liam Fay as the humorous Agent Kent, junior Tommy Lewis as the psychopathic Chester and senior Allee Pineault as the likable Ms. Foster.

For me, the dialogue between characters seemed forced and cheesy at times, particularly in the scenes between junior Tori Gitten and senior Isaac Greenawalt. However, as a student-written play, I’d say it was pretty good overall. The best scenes in the play were the scenes between junior Melissa Smith and Fay which included quick dialogue and smart humor.

Although certain parts of the play are reminiscent of past WHSTE productions such as “Larry Mars and his Radio All-Stars,” and “Alison Grimm at the Edge of the World,” I have to say that this production was unlike any other WHSTE play I have ever seen.

Unlike last year’s, “Voices From the Fire,” there are few scenes in “D.O.A.” with more than five cast members on stage at a time. I really liked this aspect of it because the lack of distraction made it much easier to focus on the storyline and follow the plot.

Another difference between this play and productions in past years is that this play was really funny. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a WHSTE production. The comedy was definitely unexpected, and I could tell the audience really enjoyed it.

But the best part of the production had nothing to do with the storyline at all. The sound and lighting effects in this production were phenomenal. The effects were elaborate, extensive and professional. Technical and Lighting Director junior Jonah Camiel and the rest of the crew really outdid themselves this year. I can’t fully express how incredible all the effects were in writing, so you all have to go see this for yourselves.

Although the plot was confusing (I still don’t understand why aliens started walking around halfway through), the strong acting skills of the cast and the incredible effects carried this play through and made it a success. I think this year’s fall play was one of WHSTE’s best, and I can’t wait to see what WHSTE will bring to the table next year.