It started when I walked in the theatre. It seemed like I had simply entered a completely different world. There were gray backdrops and floors, gray furniture, gray chairs, gray everything. There was no color. Everything in the theatre seemed to add to the effect.
Even the costumes. When the actors came onstage, they all wore the same gray outfit, and I found out afterwards that they all wore wigs except for the Mother and Jonas. All of the wigs, except the Giver’s, had dark, straight hair. The Giver’s was very complex, including a special wig for his beard, hair, and even eyebrows!
The show proved to be absolutely inspiring. There were some parts that were humorous, and others solemn. The actors were so talented at making me feel like I was in the story. The actors even walked and sat simultaneously with not even a trace of expression on their faces, which contributed to the feeling of sameness and control. The two characters that did express emotion were Jonas (Adrian Hernandez) and the Giver (Dwayne Hartford).
It has to be hard to put so much information in a one-hour play. So, to show how time passed, Jonas moved from one side of the stage to the other to show the transitions from the Giver’s room to his dwelling. I thought that was very clever.
The stage director, Samantha Monson, only had three days to coordinate the video, lights, and sound and to make sure everything stayed in sync during the show, which she did a fantastic job at! Everything was timed perfectly. She did this by talking through a headset to the other people.
There was a lot of technology use in the show. For example, there were towering screens that showed how Jonas saw the world and how that changed from beginning to end. There were parts where the screens showed announcements in the story, thoughts of the characters, and memories.
When asked what advice they would give to young actors, each of the cast members shared their words of wisdom. “Be kind to everyone you work with and be pleasant to work with,” said Michelle Cuneen, (Lily).
“For me, it’s been a lot of persistence,” said Adrian Hernandez.
Louis Farber (Father) said, “I would say that it is possible to do, and to not let someone tell you that it is not possible.”
“[Acting] could be your job. I never knew that could be my job,” said Kaleena Newman.
“Prepare yourself to do as many things around the theatre . . .do music, do dance, learn about stage management, house management, design, costuming, and learn as much stuff as you can beyond just being an actor . . . It’s not just me on the stage, it’s many people working together towards a common goal,” said Debra K. Stevens (Mother).
“A life in the arts is incredibly rewarding,” Dwayne Hartford said, “but I would encourage anyone to pursue it for the arts’ sake because that’s what feeds your soul. Don’t do it to become famous. Do it because it feeds you.”
As you can see, each of the actors and the people who helped make this production possible gave this show their best, making this moving play a must-see for all families to discover the true meaning of choice and freedom.