LUCA KELLEY NIELSEN/SAGAMORE STAFF
From a foot-obsessed psychic to an onion-addict, online dating comes with many surprises. This year’s 9th grade play, “Check Please,” addressed the chaos of such an experience through a series of vivid and unusual personalities.
The cast held their first performance at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 to audiences over Zoom. The show followed Guy (freshman Nathan Ives) and Girl (freshman Noor Harwell) as they participated in repetitive and often confusing conversations with their prospective partners and struggled to find true love.
As Guy and Girl explore their options with online dating, encountering a wild variety of distinct characters, neither find anyone worthy of a second date, until they accidentally encounter each other. The two date before ultimately breaking up, leading to their return to the dating scene. As the options for potential future partners dwindle, Guy and Girl become friends once again.
To accommodate COVID-19 safety precautions, the BHS Drama Society hosted the event without any backgrounds, lighting or other usual add-ons. The performers used household items as props and even without any staging elements, demonstrated the personalities of the characters exceptionally well.
Taking a brief break from their less than satisfactory attempts at dating, in humorous side by side scenes with their best friends, Guy, Girl, Kim (freshman Sophia Sharooz) and Hank (freshman Christa Washburn) shared their problems from their explorations of online dating. The actors utilized the virtual platform by pretending to be on their phones and playing video games with one another.
Following their sudden breakup, Guy and Girl tried to return to the online dating scene with limited success. Girl begins her journey with Brandon (freshman Louis Kaufman) on what originally seems like a successful date. Throughout the scene, Kaufman emphasized the character’s flamboyance, wearing a loose, colorful tie, and being truly engaged in his date with Girl. When he ultimately reveals himself to be gay, and simply practicing for a role as a straight character in an play, Girl is shocked and betrayed and continues onto her next date.
Guy goes on a date with Linda (freshman Sigal Soloman), who mentions her imaginary friend, Walter who resembles the opposite of her personality. Linda presented Walter by arguing with herself on many issues, inserting sharp contrast between emotions as she switched back and forth between herself and this alter-ego. Solomon’s skillful voicework and physicality made this performance especially entertaining.
Girl then meets with Eddie (freshman Fabian Ugalde), who seems to be perfect for her. Eddie shares how he has the exact same backstory as Girl, which like many of the other characters is out of the ordinary. Tension builds in the scene, peaking when it is revealed they are cousins, with the virtual format making their exaggerated facial expressions even better. Girl and Eddie both screamed at the end of the scene, which added to the already enhanced comedic effects of the play and served as a great transition into the final scene.
After all of their attempts in finding new people to date, Guy and Girl come back together to discuss their struggles in online dating. They mutually agree to start off as friends again, and if things go well, possibly get back together. Guy is now more composed in his conversation with Girl, hinting at the possibility of a relationship between the two.
Throughout the play, the characters show their emotions mostly through direct physical expression rather than any other forms of communication. Props were used extremely effectively throughout, including an especially exciting cross-screen laundry-toss near the end of the show.
The production’s Zoom format enhanced many of the smaller details that would not have shined through in an in-person environment. The online dating experiences portrayed by the cast shows how students can enhance their remote learning experiences and the exciting things that can happen over Zoom. By showing the true life-changing potential of online interfaces, the play illustrated that perhaps life over the internet isn’t such a bad thing after all.
To watch their second performance of “Checks Please”, visit this link on Oct. 30 at 6:50 p.m. https://brooklinema.zoomgov.com/j/1617053417