By Joe Temblador, Clarion Staff
The curtains open, lights flicker, and in the foreground of the stage, a hobo played by junior Yandry Ortiz sprawls along the cold, wood flooring of the Little Theatre with a bottle of spirits and her wits. Around the audience trash litters the floor, haphazard signs line the walls, and the viewer is transported into New York City’s fictitious “Skid Row” slum. Thus the audience is invited to join in viewing John F. Kennedy’s and Mr. Lee’s take on Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s cult classic, dark-comedy, rock musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.”
On stage right, the chorus dressed as street buffs harmonize in Skid Row, and we are introduced to the less than impressive and masculine Seymour Krelborn played by junior Allen Turner, perhaps the perfect student for the role. Turner brought a certain innocence and humility to Seymour’s character, staying completely charming throughout the entire play.
Turner’s Seymour is complimented by stark contrast in the form of the delightfully sadistic Orin Scrivello, played by senior Seth Emerson, a dentist with an affinity for inflicting pain on his patients, Audrey’s boyfriend, and main antagonist Audrey 2, the talking, blood eating Venus-flytrap from space.
Additionally, Seymour’s less than intelligent and emotionally weak love interest Audrey l, played in alternating casting by junior Bernadette Tropel and sophomore Xochilt Guerrero, remains lovable and pitiful even while her voice makes viewers want to tear out their eardrums.
Even minor characters like Mr. Mushnik, also casted with two players, sophomore Gabriel Erlewine and junior Christopher Lee, and World Botanical Enterprise’s Patrick Martin, senior Paiya Moua, have their own humor and talent to add to the production.
The play is a perfect fusion of young talent that will make you laugh, cry, and then laugh again throughout the performance. That being said, to call the play low budget by Broadway standards wouldn’t be inaccurate, but that’s part of its charm. The students taking part in the production play their roles with a certain passion, tenderness, and innocence absent in a world that thinks it’s seen everything. Lines and expressions are delivered with such conviction, sometimes you forget you’re watching a high school cast. The Kennedy drama students love what they’re doing, and it shows.
It is truly a joy to join the cast in all of its wardrobe and prop malfunctions, all of its trials and tribulations, voice cracks, and stage falls, because the students of the drama club are hinting at something bigger and better with every delivery of a line and stride across the stage.
I can’t help but recommend seeing whatever the drama department has in store for Kennedy High School next, and I have no doubt that if drama keeps on the track they are heading, future productions will require staging in the school’s much larger auditorium.
All photos by Yandry Ortiz