By Aaron Soliz, Clarion staff
For three days only (April 7-9), the JFK Drama Department presented an adaptation of The Rubber Room, a comedy originally by Pat Cook. The play explores a group of unusual high school teachers during the first week of a new school year.
First year teacher Candace Osterman (Yaundry Ortiz) enters a teacher’s lounge and meets her wacky workmates, who all seek to rid themselves of boredom. Each have their own methods to make their experiences a bit more interesting, including the history teacher (Kamryn Ebling) dressing up as historical characters in class and the sports coach (Jaycob Boissnneau) dreaming about creating sport movies. Generally, they are all strongly bonded as a family, until the staff discovers that a book about them and their darkest secrets was published. To make matters worse, the author is among their own group. Shortly, the teachers start to make claims and backlash at each other in an attempt to find out who made examples of themselves.
Mentored by Mr. Young, the students almost entirely composed and directed the play themselves. Both student directors Angel Ortega and Mary Edmond helped give their advice and guidance to the flourishing, yet excellent, actors. As for the main cast, although they are not Julianne Moore or Leonardo DiCaprio, the student actors have proven to be considerably great ones. During the play, I felt the actors had partially become the characters they were inhabiting, despite knowing some of the actors personally.
What’s a good play without the works beyond the actors? The down-to-earth set, representing a staff lounge, was made possible by Mr. Ewing. The stage was complete with lights and sound, managed by Julia Castro. In addition to forging the stage, the play was ultimately made possible and supported by Mrs. Cooper, Mr. Young, Mr. Van Natten, and the ASSETS Program. The play couldn’t be as effective as it was without this kind of support.
At first, I thought this play would be about a mentally ill individual, inferred by the title of the play. However, after seeing the play and understanding the characters and the situation, I soon realized that the title was quite clever. And after understanding the title, the plot had also become more clear and much more interesting. Even though the conflict was taken seriously by the characters, the play dealt with it in a comedic manner for most of the play, effectively resonating from the actors. Overall, the plot was interesting, and the actors each delivered their parts well.
Great work, JFK Drama Department. A big thumbs up.