Fall plays send a big message on a small stage


Anthony Wong

The lawyer stands firmly in front of a witness, their faces stern and unsmiling. The lawyer steps carefully across the carpeted floor and asks the witness a series of questions. Each word is said with purpose; every movement is planned. From the prop table to the composure of the student actors, the atmosphere of the courtroom set draws the audience in effortlessly—but the lawyer is senior Salar Jalinous, the witness is senior Tamir Menahemy. The rehearsal space is the atrium of the PHS library.

The Acting 3/4 classes, directed by acting teacher Kim Taylor, will perform “A Few Good Men” and “Puffs” from Dec. 12 through 15 at the Piedmont Center for the Arts. Although PHS plays historically have been performed on campus, the performances and rehearsals have been relocated due to the demolition of the Alan Harvey Theater. “The plays that I’m doing this year, as a whole, fit the theme ‘do something’,” Taylor said. “I think it’s important for people to take a stand, no matter what they believe in.”

Although the two plays fit this common theme, Taylor said, they belong to different genres of theater. Nonetheless, Taylor said she had the same purpose with both plays.

“Theater is important because we should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable,” Taylor said. “We need a little fun, and need to push people to think about life differently,”

The fun comes in “Puffs”. A play, according to an email from Taylor, which is a contemporary comedy about a boy who finds out he is a wizard, and attends a special magic school in England. The play is centered around “the ‘Puffs’”, one of the houses in the school, and the students’ adventures with magic.

Actor and junior Emily Adams said that the message of the play teaches acceptance and self-love.

“I think that everyone, in a way, can relate to the ‘Puffs’,” Adams said. “They’re special in their own ways, and that’s what makes them great together.”

On the other hand, “A Few Good Men” explores tough ethics issues through a dramatic lens.

“‘A Few Good Men’ is a military courtroom drama,” said actor and senior Will Hosler. “It’s all about a crime that was committed in the military, and getting to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Actor and junior Laney Tellegen said “A Few Good Men” challenges the audience to think critically about their own morality.

“The play really does make you reflect on yourself, your morals, and your own ideals,” Tellegen said.

“A Few Good Men” also has a large number of different roles, actor, junior Jack Dunlap said. More students in the large Acting 3/4 class have the chance to perform, he said.

“We’re allowed to really expand the cast so everybody gets a role,” Dunlap said.

However, although the list of characters is large, the stage is not. The Piedmont Center for the Arts, where the class will perform the plays, is smaller than the demolished Alan Harvey Theater. According to an email from Taylor, it will seat only 100 people.

“Sometimes, it’s kind of hard to deal with a small space,” Dunlap said.

Nonetheless, Dunlap said that the space constraints have taught him to be more precise, and he has adapted.

“Your blocking [or movements on stage] has to have purpose,” he said.

Taylor said that she appreciates that the Piedmont Center for the Arts is lending them a performance space that is accessible to a local audience, and thanks the PHS library for allowing them to rehearse on campus.

“It’s so great to have a space in the community,” Taylor said.

Taylor also said that she is grateful for the support from the Piedmont community in the types of plays she chooses.

“We’ve always put on challenging plays that aren’t typical [for high schools],” Taylor said. “I love the fact that this community has embraced larger discussions about contemporary things that are going on that make us think about life today.”

“A Few Good Men” will be performed on Dec. 12 and 14 at 7 p.m and is rated PG. “Puffs” will be performed on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. It is rated PG-13. Both performances will take place at the Piedmont Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults, and are available for purchase on Brown Paper Tickets.