“Drop Dead!” Review

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“Drop Dead!” Review

Some of the cast during a heightened moment of the show.

Some of the cast during a heightened moment of the show.

Some of the cast during a heightened moment of the show.

Some of the cast during a heightened moment of the show.

Amanda Martino, Production Manager/Senior Reporter/editor

This weekend, Cedar Grove High School presented a slew of performances of “Drop Dead!,” a play written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, which follows the story of five less-than-average actors attempting to put on a murder mystery play but experience quite a few roadblocks along the way.

I attended the Saturday evening show, which was the cast’s last and final performance.  

As the show began, it was not immediately apparent that there was a play taking place within a play, until the audience hears Brent Reynolds (Hunter Romanko ‘18) refer to his mistress, Candy Apples, playing Penelope, as “Pen-il-ope.” And once renowned director, Victor Le Pew (Alex Qassis ‘18) and his assistant Phillip (Ava Silverman ‘20) joins the cast on stage and begins directing, it becomes pretty clear.

This take on theatre is unlike any other show that Cedar Grove High School has put on; with shows such as “Charlotte’s Web,” “Odd Couple,” and “The Miracle Worker” all maintaining a similar family-friendly theme, “Drop Dead!” certainly sticks out (in the best way possible).  While some people may feel that the play-ception was slightly confusing, I felt it was a brilliant showcase of the individual talents of each performer in the production.  Allowing the students to demonstrate their ability to switch from one character to another in a matter of seconds throughout the play led to quite the impressive performance from the cast.

Based on some of the interviews from our last issue, quite a few members in the production claimed doubling up on characters to be rather difficult; however, it was not evident in the performance.  Each of the characters had a distinct personality and it definitely shone through in their portrayal of the roles–not to mention the cunning humor that also made the play so spectacular.  

From Brent Reynold’s dramatic mentions of “the snow,” lit by a single spotlight each time, to Mona Monet’s (Danielle DiPietro ‘18) countless attempts to outshine the rest of the cast with her over-the-top acting style.

When asked her opinion on “Drop Dead!” attendant Alicia Pineda ‘18 says, “I really enjoyed it and I thought it was really funny,” yet claims she did not go into it knowing it was going to be comical, but, “when it ended up being really funny [she] laughed a lot.” She also notes the inception when she states that, “It was really surprising when Alex (Victor Le Pew) just stood up; I didn’t know that was coming, so that was really cool.”

The show also touches on topics in society that are usually pretty sensitive, such as age, addiction, and the objectification of women.

Constance Crawford (Aysesu Yilmaz), a nearly ancient former television star, remarkably manages to hear nearly nothing anyone else is saying for the entire duration of the performance, conveying a perfect hyperbole of for the decline of the five senses that comes with age.

Playwright and “recovering” alcoholic Alabama Miller (Julie Steckel ‘18) struggles with Victor Le Pew’s simplification of her play, “The World Condition and the Eternal Snow God,” and desperately intervenes rehearsal to testify her original ideas.  In the end, she ends up actually being apart of the show, as she interjects lines to present the complex meanings behind her script, all with a flask in hand.

Although quite a few characters end up dying, it is still a nail-biting comedy that demands a clever sense of humor and an appreciation for theatre.

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