By Rosa Stern Pait
This year’s student written High School Festival piece, Down Came the Rain, performed on Saturday, was one of three shows to advance to the semifinals.
The show was an exploration of the effects of parental pressure, and was both insightful and delightful.
The protagonist’s mother, Cynthia Turner (sophomore Gracie Western), has high ambitions for her daughter, Sam (sophomore Izzy Seicol), prominently featuring pre-med at University of Chicago. She pushes her to take an excessive courseload in high school. When Sam expresses interest in an art class taught by Ms. Quentin (junior Camille Whyte), Cynthia tells her she cannot go because she would be too stressed. The tension comes to a head and ultimately ends with a moment of release for Sam.
The nursery rhyme “The Eensy Weensy Spider,” sung by a young Sam (sophomore Maya Seicol) with her mother in the opening scene, sets the stage for a theme of entanglement. Sam continuously tries and fails to free herself, metaphorically “climbing up the spout again”. The story is interspersed with silhouetted images of various characters in Sam’s life, caught on a giant spider’s web because their presence in Sam’s life displeases her mother.
The characters wore outfits with psychedelic colors, flowing lines, and bright accessories, costumed by junior Izzy Schettino. This reflected the many wacky and exciting characters Sam interacts with. These include the artsy best friends Allison and Olivia, a fun dynamic duo, played with nudges and infectious smiles by junior Michelle Rios and sophomore Haley Barnes. There was also Uncle Billy (senior Borja Herraiz), who lightened the mood in the Turner house with magic tricks, uncle jokes, and sage advice.
One of the sweetest and most touching parts of the show was the way Sam’s friends rally around her. Nearly every high school student has felt stress and pressure, whether from parents, society or themselves. But it was truly heartwarming to see Sam’s friends help her relax and her teachers encourage her to follow her dreams. It gave the audience a warm feeling that continued even into the next shows.
The cast and crew will perform in the semifinals in Sharon on March 14 at 10:30 a.m.
Rosa Stern Pait can be contacted at [email protected]