Review: The Giver Freshman Play

Rachel Myers, Staff Writer

Sofia Tong / Sagamore Staff

Sofia Tong / Sagamore Staff

Futuristic music plays as the audience settles in their seats. The music pauses, and a group of actors dressed head to toe in the color gray enter the stage.

This year’s freshman play “The Giver” debuted on December 9th in the black box. The play is based on the book of the same name by Lois Lowry, and is set in a dystopian society. A twelve-year-old boy Jonas (freshman Max Harris) is drastically changed when he is assigned to be the Receiver of Memory, allowing him to feel sensations and emotions that he previously couldn’t.

The actors and unique use of props contributed to the emphasis placed on the idea of memory throughout the performance.

From the start of the play, the audience becomes very aware of the strict rules and customs of the society Jonas lives in. It is explained that when a citizen turns twelve, they are assigned a profession for the rest of their life after being “thanked” by the society for their childhood. Jonas’ parents, played by freshmen Sam Cain and Devasha Solomon, mention that “being released” is the peaceful end of one’s life, despite not comprehending the ideas of death or dying.

The audience reacted positively to the lines of Jonas’ younger sister, Lily, played by freshman Yuen Ting Chow. The actor used a high-pitched voice, childish expressions and animation to convey the character’s youth, and received a number of laughs from the crowd.

A bit later into the play, Jonas is introduced to the “Giver,” who, according to the society, is in charge of passing memories onto Jonas. Although there is only one Giver in the book, this adaption of the story made three Givers, played by freshmen Eva Stanley, Amanda Mills-Hubbard, and Cindy Meng.

Despite there being three actors, the freshmen showed uniformity and sameness while also being wise. The Giver is the most intelligent character in the play, as the character has experienced a wide range of emotions that the society lacks. Each girl expresses this knowledge by showing the strength, authority, and compassion of the character they were playing.

Harris, playing Jonas, showed the change the character goes through in a profound way. Jonas begins to have the ability to see colors and experience new feelings, such as love, sailing on a beautiful lake and getting a sunburn. The actor does a great job of showing the pain that he is feeling in his voice, and how starts to question how his society is built.

When Jonas is experiencing sledding down a snowy hill for the first time, three videos were projected onto the gray screens above the stage. Two were scenes of a snowy forest, and the third was a video from the perspective of someone sitting on a sled as it goes down a mountain. This was a very effective way for the director to show what Jonas was experiencing, and the audience was wowed by the impressive use of technology.

This performance engaged me from start to finish with its fascinating plot and standout performances. I highly recommend anyone to go see the next two performances this week in the black box, which are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which also has a showing at 3:30 p.m.