The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Review: Hilarious student-run productions mark yet another drama department success

Conrad Berke
Chemistry teacher Mr. Tremblay (Ale Pelkowski) makes suck-up Kyle (Tammy Powell) massage his feet, much to Kyle’s repulsed dismay

Woodside’s drama third year and fourth year class held their student-run productions (written by Bradley Hayward) “Teachers on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “Conversation Therapy” this past Tuesday, the 23rd. It proved to be a smash hit and another successful production from the drama department.

“Teachers on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” proved incredible in terms of acting, script, costume design, and more. This being my first time attending a Woodside-run play, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, I soon found myself thoroughly entertained and laughing out loud, along with every other member of the audience. I sat on the edge of my seat, my head craned forward in delighted expectation for the next big laugh.

Performances that I found particularly uproarious included junior Nicolas Weppner’s “Mrs. Fritz”, or as Mrs. Fritz calls herself during the play, ‘the Tyrant in Tights.’ From instructing the disruly students to place their gum on their foreheads to collecting their phones and threatening to sell the devices on eBay, Mrs. Fritz proved to be extremely comical. In acting specifically, Weppner did a fantastic job carrying his voice throughout the Performing Arts Center (PAC), as well as strutting around the stage and making hand gestures perfectly in character.

Mr. Tremblay, played by senior Ale Pelkowski, was equally hysterically funny. The second the audience and I saw Mr. Tremblay enter the stage, I knew Pelowski would be a riot. Hunched over, wielding a wooden cane, shuffling and grumbling in the stereotypical old-man trope fashion, this superb acting proved all the more funny when it’s later revealed that Mr. Tremblay is in his forties. Pelkowski did not disappoint. 

Mr. Tremblay’s script was hilarious, not to mention perfectly enacted by Pelkowski. “My teeth went. My hip went. My mind went,” was just one of the many lines that had the audience rolling. Although perhaps the most laughs came when Mr. Tremblay asked, “Which one of you is the brown-noser – there’s always one!” and summons said suck-up Kyle (senior Tammy Powell) to his desk to massage his feet while Mr. Tremblay reclined in his chair. Handing Kyle an ointment to use on his feet forces the disgusted student to say “I’d rather die!,” to which Mr. Tremblay responds, “You sound just like my doctor.” Special props should also be given to the makeup crew for the design of the multitude of wrinkles and huge receding hairline upon Mr. Tremblay’s forehead.

Teachers Miss Pat (junior Ayla Defouw), Mrs. Riesenbach (junior Kadian Smith), and Mr. Wiens (sophomore Ravi Malhotra) also put on fantastic performances. True to the name of the play, all 5 teachers made it obvious that they were, in fact, close to crazy as well as “on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” Students Jordan (junior Roxanne Bobo), Logan (sophomore Taylor Reinhart), Cameron, (junior Clarisa Robles), and Kyle did great jobs either mischievously inciting the teachers “nervous breakdown” or nervously attempting to sooth teachers and prevent such breakdowns. 

Students huddle around Miss. Whittle (Kadian Smith), consoling her about the potential shutdown of the ‘Conversation Therapy’ class (Conrad Berke)

Overall, all actors were very impressive, and did great jobs displaying the teacher’s proximity to a personal crisis. In perfect interconnection with the acting came the colorful set design, costumes, and lighting that helped make such a well-produced and hilarious film. And of course, the hysterically funny script was one of the biggest factors in the play’s success and summoned many uproars from the audience.

After “Teachers on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” came “Conversation Therapy,” which follows Miss Whittle (Smith), a stressed yet sympathetic and friendly teacher in charge of ‘Conversation Therapy’ class. Miss Whittle brought together students who suffered from some sort of problem in order to try and conquer their issues.

Students who frequented the class included the talkative Woody (Reinhart), the vain Cort (Defouw), the judgemental vegan Lily (Bobo), Jayne (Robles), who subconsciously assumes Miss Whittle’s personality but with a crueler touch, Mindy (Powell) who can’t tell a story for the life of her and last but not least the timid Kyle (Pelkowski).

The news that the class might be shut down sets off a panic in the “Conversation Therapy” class, even more so when school inspector-esque characters Betty, Letty, and Netty, (junior Marcella Castellanos, Malhotra, and Weppner) pay the class a visit while equipped with trench coats and clipboards.

As with the first play, “Conversation Therapy” benefited greatly from a wonderful cast, great set design, and meticulous lighting. 

If the department’s next play is anything like these two, it will be a smash-hit. My congratulations to senior directors Izzy Wynne and Amanda Marcos. I look forward to the drama department’s next performance in excited anticipation.

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About the Contributor
Conrad Berke, Co-Editor in Chief
Conrad Berke is a senior and third-year journalist. He enjoys writing about sports, culture, and opinion pieces. In his free time, Conrad enjoys watching soccer games, listening to music, playing Magic: The Gathering, and spending time with friends and family.

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