Fall Play Promises Performances of Mythical Proportions


Nate Taylor

Juniors Sohrob Shahmirzadi and Aiden Stringer celebrate the groups successful performance within the 99 minute time constraint. Each night, a digital clock ticked down as performers sped through the entirety of Greek mythology, often leaving only seconds to spare.

Charlotte Cao, Lauren Hsu, and Nate Taylor

Wild cheers escaped the audience as Diomedes (junior Jasper Scott) rushed onto the stage, holding up his trademark hand symbol and shouting, “Diomedes rules!”

This year’s fall play, titled “The Iliad, the Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less,” took place Nov. 7-9 in the theater. Classic myths were retold through a series of popular game show spin-offs, like the “Agape Connection” and “Greek Hero Idol.”

Narrators assumed the role of show hosts as they introduced the audience to Olympians, demigods and mortals alike. Characters adopted comical personalities that added a humorous twist to each tale: a petulant Achilles stomped his feet at Thetis, while Ajax and Hector slap-fought their way through the Trojan War.

“It’s relevant for teenagers and adults alike; it brings a new take to classical stories that we’re somewhat familiar with or learning about in school,” drama teacher and director Samantha Sanford said.

Unique to this play was a scene that required an audience member to take on the role of Semele, one of Zeus’s many mortal lovers. Each ‘Semele’ was led onto the stage by Zeus, handed a sheet of lines and cues, and acted out the birth of Dionysus impromptu.

However, opening night was tinged with an air of unpreparedness. Actors forgot their lines, the sound cut out often, and several scenes felt rushed. There were numerous instances when props, such as a painted wooden boat as well as a puppet set, were brought out at the incorrect time. But for the most part, performers adapted well to any unforeseen complications, demonstrating their improvisation skills.

“This is the year that we have all the incoming freshmen and new seniors, so there were a lot of people who had never actually done theater before,” sophomore and Pandora actress Ainsley Johnston said. “We started really late, and that added to the fact that we were scrambling towards the end, but we made it work.”

From Thursday, the play experienced considerable improvements as the performers got more practice onstage. By closing night, actors had a firmer grasp on their individual lines and became more familiar with their cues. Scenes became more cohesive, and minor issues with costumes and sound effects were resolved.

“Between the Friday and Saturday shows, Saturday seemed more enjoyable partly due to a more energetic audience and partly due to how both actors and tech seemed to have solidified their part,” senior and audience member Jason Lee said. “The actors in particular seemed more prepared for the play and executed their lines and scenes almost perfectly.”

One factor that remained consistent throughout all three shows was the exceptional performances by individual actors, most of whom were assigned to multiple roles. Despite this overlap, each character had a distinct personality and appearance, which showcased the diversity of talent and flexibility of the cast. While every part was well-cast, one outstanding actress was Johnston, whose lively and hilarious portrayal of Pandora elicited uproarious laughter and delight from the audience.

“[Theater] gives students the chance to really put themselves out there, get out of their comfort zone and explore different aspects of performing arts,” junior and Zeus actor McCoy Cariaso said. “You have music, you have choir, and here we have acting. I’m [always] looking forward to just really having the opportunity to put all of our hard work together and go on stage and perform.”