Review: Emerson Play

Kids on the Sidewalk



Emmaline (junior Rebecca Perez) and her daughter Charlotte (junior Devasha Solomon) eat dinner together while discussing Charlotte’s upcoming birthday in Kids on the Sidewalk.

Priya Karumanchi, Staff Writer

The mustard yellow walls are decorated with picture frames and quotes all around. A refrigerator is covered with art and family pictures. Once in the black box, the audience is transported to the home of a family in the ‘70s.

Kids on the Sidewalk, written and directed by senior Sarah Groustra, takes place in the ‘70s, in Palo Alto, California. The play had two showings in the Black Box, on Friday, Jan. 26.

The play begins with a typical family conversation you might have in your own home. Charlotte Cullen, played by junior Devasha Solomon, is in the kitchen telling her mother, Emmaline Cullen (junior Rebecca Perez) that her friend Jonah Miller (junior Roger Burtonpatel) and his brother Ethan (sophomore Chris Jennings) went to a protest against the Vietnam War and the draft. Ethan then decides to attend another protest and does not tell his family. He is arrested and eventually drafted for the war. The story ends with Asha Bennington (Miranda Joyce) and Charlotte deciding they want to protest the draft as well, while Jonah gets his brother’s initials tattooed on him, as he knows he may never see him again.

The play is about 30 minutes, and ended with a Q&A with the cast, when the audience could ask questions. This made the play feel personal, as you could learn more about the story in-depth through different characters’ perspectives.

Throughout the play, the scenery stays the same. Although the stage is made to look like the 1970’s, the kitchen is decorated with pictures of friends and families on the fridge. This setup makes the audience feel as if they are part of the family. At the end of each scene, the lighting dims, so that the shadows of characters are barely visible as they prepare for the next scene, which creates suspense as the audience awaits the next scene.

The costumes are the real show stoppers. Emmaline wears a blue striped collared shirt and a black skirt and Charlotte wears a flowery top and flare pants. All the outfits make the characters look straight out of the 70’s. We are not very used to seeing this type of clothing and the clothes they wear help bring the story to life. 

At the beginning of the story, the kids appear like typical American teenagers because of the way they act. By the end of the story, however, they have to face the reality of one of their friends going to war, and all the anxiety that brings.

Overall, the story makes you realize how blessed you are, not needing to worry about a war and a draft. Kids on the Sidewalk really shows you how life can change in a split second. It teaches you that you should be grateful for all you have. The story makes you feel sympathetic towards the characters, but also shows you how strong they are.