The whimsical tale of a community theater company and their escapades come to life on the stage of Los Alamitos high school amid remarkable student work, both onstage and offstage.
Melanie Tanaka shines in her role of the theater director "Gerry" Dunbar, lovably and humorously progressing from patiently encouraging her cast to shape up and learn their lines to frantically fretting before opening night at their woeful under preparation to a final resignation at their company's gargantuan yet glorious failure the night of the show.
Connor Franzen takes his character the extra mile, not only fully committing to Saul Watson's rude demeanor and inappropriately timed jokes, but taking his performance even further in his portrayal of Watson when he becomes drunk halfway through their show. Franzen handles this character change responsibly, not overdoing his stupor but playing him appropriately for the character by getting in the other actors' faces and holding up the act even when he wasn't the focus of attention.
The cast in its entirety demonstrated a superior grasp of the workings of a cast, playing their characters so well that they never lost grasp of their original traits and letting their characters' personalities cross into their stage characters'. As almost every actor is playing a character playing a character, it is a very difficult task for them to keep track of each one, a task the cast tackled professionally and consistently.
The set, as designed by Shelby Marsh, was stunningly realistic and accurate to that of a community theater, complete with walls that began the show as incomplete and revealing the "backstage" of the theater to a completed rendition of a victorian era house for the characters' play within a play. Thanks to the diligent research of the set designers the set was not only believable but relatable as well, sporting hand painted "wallpaper" with a stencil created by the students.
The costumes were creatively and cleverly assembled by Grace Coil and Bre Pitts. Each character's personality was accurately reflected in their dress, such as Tanaka's sweater, turtleneck, and simple dress, which embodied the persona of a theater director. In addition to Tanaka, Franzen's costume was worth noting, popping and standing out which reflected Watson's charismatic and larger-than-life character. The costumes only continue to impress as they displayed the reality of everyday people in Act I with simple, everyday t-shirts and jeans, reminding through their appearances in costume for their dress rehearsal and show of the hilariousness of a meta play.
Makeup was done exceptionally by Micaela Erickson, McKenna Brennan, and Zee Castillo, complementing the costumes splendidly and showing the various ages of the characters from the teenage "Smitty" Smith (Macy Boren) to the mature Polly Benish (Micaela Erickson).
An enjoyable and gut-splitting cast, Los Alamitos displays a talented and skillfully managed show full of a wide array of student talent stretching from the characters naturally brought to life to the construction of the very world they perform in.
by Garrett Larson of El Dorado
The show must go on at Los Alamitos High School
"Play On!" tells the story of a theater putting on a local woman's play, Murder Most Foul. In this play within a play, it is three days before opening night of "Murder Most Foul" and the playwright is still making changes, the actors don't know their lines, and all the sound effects have been erased. Will these amateur actors pull it off?
Los Alamitos High School's production of "Play On!" is humorous and exciting. Extraordinary actors and superb tech elements create a hilarious production causing laughter for miles.
Melanie Tanaka as the director Gerry Dunbar is captivating. Tanaka exudes stress as she paces back and forth between the stage and the audience. With that, she shows the progression of rehearsals to performance through her snappy tone during dress rehearsals and motherly pep talks before the show.
Alexiss Lloyd is the lovable Louise Peary who can't seem to do anything right. Playing a techie, Lloyd steals the show with her sarcastic remarks as she nonchalantly meanders around the stage.
Connor Franzen as one of the actors, Saul Watson is the comic relief of this already comedic show. Franzen as drunken Saul exhibits perfect comedic timing. His exaggerated gestures and slurred speech bring truth to his intoxicated character.
Snooty and proper, Micaela Erickson struts around stage capturing the essence of high strung Polly Benish. Erickson portrays the stereotypical "experienced" actor perfectly with her know-it-all attitude and chin
The cast as a whole is able to create distinct personalities between their character and their character's role in "Murder Most Foul". While the crew of "Murder Most Foul" is able to show their ever-growing frustrations with the amateur actors through slight nervous tics.
Light designer Joe Rios and sound designer Faith Lee work well together to create the effect of fast-forwarding through the play. Flickering lights and sped up dialogue made the scene as though someone was clicking the fast-forward button on a remote.
Costume designer Grace Coil enhances the personality and age of each character through their costumes. Coil puts teen actress Marla Smith in leggings and a crop top while she put the older Polly Benish in mom jeans and a loose blouse.
With a captivating cast and terrific tech, "Play On!" at Los Alamitos High School is exhilarating.
by Anika Perera of Aliso Niguel
The show must ï¿½Play On!' At Los Alamitos
Los Alamitos' production of "Play On!" is a comedic story about the difficulties of putting on a show in community theatre. In three hilarious acts, the cast and crew in the community theatre work together to put on a show, ï¿½Murder Most Foul,' by a new playwright, who continuously comes into rehearsal to change the script. With several technical difficulties, many forgotten lines, and a lot of frustration, the cast and crew off ï¿½Murder Most Foul' make the best of what resources they have.
The cast of ï¿½Murder Most Foul' consists of a married couple, Henry (Cole Schnider) and Polly (Micaela Erickson). As the oldest and most experienced in the company, Henry and Polly consistently work hard to get work done. Alongside them is a young couple, Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) who are immature and often distracted from their work. They also work with a high school student, Smitty (Macy Boren), and a charismatic bad boy, Saul (Connor Franzen). Boren displays the youthfulness of her character through the childlike tone in her voice and her posture. Franzen brings comedy to the already hilarious show in the third act, as his character drunkenly stumbles around the stage.
The director of ï¿½Murder Most Foul,' Gerry (Melanie Tanaka) and the stage manager, Aggie (Chloe Lim) work chaotically due to all the stress of the show. Much of their stress comes from Phyllis (Anna Baker), who marches purposefully to rehearsals with changes to the script in her hands. Working hard as the technician, Louise (Alexiss Lloyd) comes onstage with new technical issues every few minutes.
The costumes of "Play On!" were designed by Grace Coil, who showed all of the characters' different personalities by the way they were dressed. The light designer (Joe Rios), the set designer (Shelby Marsh), and the Props Manager (Kaylee "Jaq" McKay) worked hard to show the process of rehearsals over time. The first act, which is a rehearsal of ï¿½Murder Most Foul,' showed an unfinished set, rehearsal props, and bright, rehearsal lighting. In the second act, more set elements and props were added to the stage to show progress, and in the third act, the stage was complete and the lights were set for a play.
With a comical cast and hardworking crew, Los Alamitos tells a wonderful story about making the most of what you have in theatre.
by Annie Chapman of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos High School's "Play On!" is absolutely hilarious!
With four days until opening day, a community theatre group struggle to get things done for their play, "Murder Most Foul", while the playwright keeps changing the script.
Melanie Tanaka gives an excellent performance of overwhelmed director, Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar. Tanaka's facial expressions and body movements react with the players' inability to focus during rehearsal and everything that goes wrong on the technical side. Anna Baker portrays Phyllis Montague, the bubbly and energetic playwright who keeps interrupting rehearsal with new rewrites of her show. Baker soft voice and flows movements show Phyllis' carefree personality.
In the cast, Micaela Erickson and Cole Schneider are the married couple, Polly and Henry Benish. Erickson and Schneider show their maturity through their posture and walk. Louie Gallagher and Leah Schiffer portray Billy Carewe and Violet Imbry, two actors who have "become really close". Billy and Violet try their best to hide their relationship from the others with quick reactions and when together alone, are all over each other.
Macy Boren plays the nervous teenager, Marla "Smitty" Smith who is struggling to balance homework and rehearsals. Boren rushes through her lines on opening day to show Smitty's nervousness of being in front of an audience. Connor Franzen portrays the witty, Saul Watson. Franzen succeeds to be flamboyant and always finds a way to keeps his character occupied.
Chloe Lim and Alexiss Lloyd are on the crew side of "Murder Most Foul". Lim is the pessimistic stage manager, Aggie Manville, who is always running around trying to get things done. Her strong tone of voice show the authority she has as a stage manager. Lloyd is the sarcastic and multitasking crew member, Louise Peary. Lloyd's "whatever"-like voice is hilarious when heard offstage and gives great comedic timing.
Costume design by Grace Coil capture each character's age, and personality. Smitty is put in leggings, a blouse, and some boots to show her young high school age and Phyllis is in bright colored and floral patterned 70's clothes to fit her carefree, bubbly personality.
Joe Rios does an excellent job with lighting as he shows the reality of community theatre from having it bright during rehearsal to dark for a real performance on opening night.
With talented actors and skilled designers, the terribleness of "Murder Most Foul" makes Los Alamitos High School's "Play On!" hilarious and extremely enjoyable.
by Ashley Ramos of Aliso Niguel
The Show Must Go On at Los Al
Los Alamitos's production of Play On! is laugh out loud funny as the actors try to overcome the atrocities that face them when they perform ï¿½Murder Most Foul'; a play within a play.
The progression of costumes and make-up from beginning stages to complete are a wonderfully done creative touch. Costumes (Grace Coil) and make-up (Micaela Erickson) complement each other well as the first act is very contemporary with light make-up and comfortable normal clothes fitting to each character's personality. As Act 2 begins slightly more make-up and in progress costumes immerse the idea of a real show undergoing the process of rehearsal. The end product is fancy Victorian costumes with maroon appearing in each costume giving the sense of sophistication. The addition of tons of blush and eye shadow meet the finished costumes as actors not wanting to be washed out and really showing the essence of a true show.
Melanie Tanaka as Gerry the director gives a convincing performance as she held maturity in her body and words while having large expressions of anguish and stress when things did not go as planned. Her large movements of anger of slamming the stage or dropping her notes when in disbelief bring this character to life.
The actors as a whole are able to bring distinct differences when playing more than one character with bright crisp accents and stiffer more "staged" movements as actors acting. Connor Franzen stands out as Saul with a flamboyant costume and personality that Franzen gives through his sly movements of petting props and obscure accent when portraying Dr. Forbes. Franzen used a slurred speech and broke is British accent and language to create a drunken actor that was amusing to see ruin the show even further.
An exceptional piece of technical work was shown by the creativity of the light designer Joe Rios and sound designer Faith Lee working together with sped up recorded voices and strobe lights flashing to create a fast forward moment. Rios' use of the Gobo to project ï¿½Murder Most Foul' was also an amazing touch to create the sensation of seeing a real performed show.
While the paly within the play had its hardships, the cast and crew of Play On! put on a beautiful show.
by Kayla Slater of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos High School causes chaos in "Play On!"
Los Alamitos High School presents "Play On!", the nightmarish rehearsals and performance of a murder mystery show, where everything that can go wrong, does. This homage to the stereotypical community theatre, where shows are produced in low quality "theaters" with no budget, brings non-stop laughter through the anarchy ensuing.
Jerry Dunbar (Melanie Tanaka) is the nervous director of the new murder mystery, "Murder Most Foul", who stresses over the play's lack of progress as opening night approaches. Jerry begins the show feeling somewhat calm during rehearsals as she hopes they can still succeed, and later feels overwhelmed by stress, turning violent and threatening actors in dress rehearsal. Finally, once the show opens, Jerry has given up and realizes that the show's success now relies on how well the actors perform. Aggie Manville (Chloe Lim) is the production's stage manager, and feels overwhelmed by all of the work which is left to do with so little time left. Lim's exasperated behavior is prevalent throughout the show as she paces across the stage and holds back to urge to scream.
The noticeably large actress Polly Benish (Micaela Erickson) carries herself with a sense of superiority over the other actors, behaving in a stuck up fashion. Erickson excellently portrays her maturity, adding to her more high-strung and obnoxious persona. Saul Watson (Connor Franzen), another actor in the murder mystery, struggles with pre-show jitters and turns to drinking in order to calm himself down. Franzen's commitment to being drunk adds to his hilarious behavior as he is oblivious to the actions onstage. Billy Carewe (Louie Gallagher) works well with Saul as they are both drunk together and act playfully with one another. Gallagher appears very dazed, forgetting his lines and stumbling across the stage, slurring his words as he speaks.
Hair and makeup design by Micaela Erickson and costume design by Grace Coil help demonstrate the progression of time throughout the show. The actors have no makeup and realistic everyday outfits while in rehearsal, and later have minimal makeup and parts of their costume on during dress rehearsal, and ending with full stage makeup, such as heavy blush mustaches and wigs, and completed costumes for "Murder Most Foul".
Los Alamitos High Schools offers this hilarious tale of mistakes and mayhem, excellently presenting the messy atmosphere of community theatre.
by Martin Perez of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos ï¿½Play On!' is spot on
The classic tale of the play gone wrong gets revamped in Los Alamitos High School's production of "Play On!" The actors and crew of a community theatre production of "A Murder Most Foul" by meddling amateur playwright Phyllis Montague must somehow salvage their crumbling show, on top of the revisions upon revisions to the script that Phyllis insists must be put in. Needless to say, there is pandemonium.
Phyllis, played by Anna Baker, parades with energy and excitement. When forgetting to set a prop during the show, Baker scurries on and off stage. Phyllis' bubbly, naive personality is also demonstrated by Baker's use of an energetic voice and inflections.
Micaela Erickson portrays high-strung and obnoxious Polly. With clear, directed movement and pursed lips, Erickson illustrates Polly's prim and proper nature and arrogance with ease. Polly's archenemy Saul, played by Connor Franzen, throws several off-handed insults about Polly's weight, adding to the chaos of the production. Franzen's sarcastic scoffs and effortless quips establish Saul as the cruel, petty villain of the actors. When Saul is drunk in Act 3, Franzen's slurred, sloppy diction and stumbling gait further demonstrate his intoxication.
Melanie Tanaka and Chloe Lim portray the frustrated management team. Tanaka plays Gerry, the director. Tanaka gestures sharply and paces aggressively, showing Gerry's pure exasperation with the disastrous nature of the play. Lim portrays Aggie Manville, the cynical stage manager. Aggie stomps angrily and stiffly and speaks with an edge in her voice when the play goes wrong, demonstrating her utter frustration.
The technical elements of the show masterfully demonstrate the progression and development of the show. Lights, designed by Joe Rios, progress through the show's arc. The lights are unnoticeable in Act 1, but by Act 3, the lights brightly shine upon the stage and illuminate the actors in their opening night performance.
Hair and makeup design, by Micaela Erickson, also progresses throughout the show. Makeup is softer in the beginning rehearsal of the show and by the end, all of the characters sport harsh blush during their first performance. As a whole, the technical elements of "Play On!" further illustrate the chaotic, hacked-together nature of "A Murder Most Foul".
Los Alamitos offers a charming "Play On!", demonstrating that one truly does perform how one practices.
by Salina Chin of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos entertains with "Play On!"
One lucky, unsuccessful community theatre is given the opportunity to perform a show called, "Murder Most Foul", for no charge written by an inexperienced playwright. The director and actors involved in the show soon realize this may have been a mistake when chaos begins to break loose right before opening night.
On this journey, the cast and crew of the production presents the process of putting together a show in community theatre. In charge of the show is director, Gerry (Melanie Tanaka), who shows the progression of stress with her fellow crew members as well as cast members. Tanaka gives life to an anxious director through fluid, purposeful movements and projected voice. Countering her is the struggling playwright of the production, Phyllis (Anna Baker), who continually makes changes to the original script the actors are using. Baker creates a convincing and bubbly author with delicate diction and swift motions.
On the other side of the production are the actors, all of which interact with one another and provide amusement to each scene. Giving satire to every situation is Saul, (Connor Franzen), who is never expected to be very serious about what he says during rehearsals. Franzen has impeccable comedic timing when delivering his lines and fills himself with witty humour and magnificent stage presence. He often pokes fun of Polly, (Micaela Erickson), who gets defensive about the jokes made of herself in light hearted fun. Erickson portrays the diva within the group of actors with poised posture and controllable tone in her voice. Differing from the rest of the adults in the show, Marla, sometimes referred to as Smitty, (Macy Boren), displays a young and innocent teenage actor. Boren constructs the believable stereotype of a young actor through a discouraged tone and fast paced dialogue.
Complementing the progression of the show, were the similar progression of the tech elements. Props (Kaylee McKay) and costumes (Grace Coil) both developed as the acts went on, presenting the reality of how a show is created. Scenic designer, Shelby Marsh, also advances the set as the production moves along with new elements each time the curtain opens.
With stand out characters and proficient technical aspects, "Play On!" at Los Alamitos High School is a hysterical love letter to community theatre.
by Sophie Gunn of Aliso Niguel
Los Al's "Play On!" is on point!
Los Alamitos High School's production of "Play On!" portrayed the true world of a community theater production with natural and comedic ease. With costumes, set, props, and makeup teams that show off each character's individuality extremely well, Los Alamitos pulls off a hilarious take on the antics of play rehearsal.
The players of Los Alamitos take on "Play On!," a story that tells of a theater company performing a play that is constantly going under revision from the playwright Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker). Each actor made a specific choice for their character and stuck with it throughout the process of rehearsal to opening night.
Melanie Tanaka especially shown through her portrayal as Gerry, the stressed director. As the show progressed, she became more and more exasperated and anxious. Her body language and voice fluctuations were very deliberate and well thought out.
Connor Franzen, Saul, also stood out. His performance in the final scene of the play, during which he is drunk and the other actors are trying to get through the train wreck that the show has become, he is over the top yet convincing. When not saying a line he was still acting in the background, the comedic act of caressing the phone for example.
The set of "Play On!" was very impressive, changing dramatically through each act. During act one, it was very obviously a work in progress, with ladders and a brick wall in the background and the actors working with metal chairs. Towards the end of the show the set depicted the Victorian Era period that the play within the play "A Murder Most Foul" needed. From the styling of the sofa to the attention to detail of the wall stencil, it is obvious the research that went into this set.
Through the actors dedicating themselves to a choice and the set design depicting where they should be versus where they actually were by the end, "Play On!" at Los Alamitos is an immersing experience of what happens during a community theater production.
by Ashley Jones of El Dorado
"Play On" is absolute murder on the voice, hardly was there a dull moment where there wasn't a giggle or so emitting around the room. This cast of actors had much thinking to do with this show. Not only did they have to play-well, a cast of actors, or crew, they had to play their actors' characters in a victorian age murder mystery. Written by a scattered, airheaded playwright Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker). To the despair of the actors, Phyllis would continually change the script, the humor in this turned out to be a comedic gem in the show.
Act One began as a seemingly normal rehearsal, where as Act Two was a dress rehearsal, finally ending with Act Three, a crime of an opening night with how much went wrong to our poor actors. To the joy of our students however, their performance in the chaos was professionally executed in ways that left some in stitches.
An unsung wonderfully executed addition to this show was the ever evolving set. As Act One was a general rehearsal the set reflected it in a way that many theater kids could relate to, paint brushes, cans, and hammers being strewn about. A lack of props, as well as tired actors that just wish for nothing more than to go home and be done with a stop and go rehearsal. Act Two, as you'd expect had more added to the stage, the crew during intermission had put up a giant piece of the wall, instead of metal chairs there were time accurate couches. Act Three saw the completion of the set. Upon seeing the finished product, it was like looking into a photo from the victorian era. The attention to research and detail is absolutely remarkable, framed photos hung about the stage, with candle sticks along the doors, each addition complimented each other. This amount of harmony only being achievable due to the students' hardworking research.
To celebrate the show as much as it deserves, the students have to be praised. Each one worked together as one cohesive whole. So much so that it is hard to discern a lead, if there is any, not one character was unimportant. The dynamic and tight knit nature of the show was as potent as the drink, or rather, drinks, Saul (Connor Franzen) had during Act Three. Luckily for us while the show fell apart piece by piece, the Actors' commitment to the piece left an air of admiration to settle, for their fantastic work. While at first many of the cast didn't seem to have a connection what so ever, seemingly uncomfortable with the lack of chemistry. As soon as the curtain rolled up on Act Two all of that changed. What happened between then few will know, yet many thanks to what it was.
Play On was a chaotic beauty, with so many aspects to celebrate that not one or two or three paragraphs could even begin to scratch the surface of the depth to acting, dedication to tech, and overall professionalism to which it was executed. The real crime is the lack of justice words can do, that crime is akin to a murder, most foul.
by Jenna Young of El Dorado
What Couldn't Go Wrong at Los Alamitos' "Play On"
Los Alamitos Drama's "Play On", by Rick Abbot, is nothing but nostalgic flashbacks to bad community theatre mishaps.
"Play On" is the original play within a play. Things go awry when a low budget community theatre company tries to put on "Murder Most Foul", but the writer keeps changing things. But still, the show must go on.
Billy Carewe (Louie Gallagher) is phenomenal. He has fantastic connections with everyone, especially Saul Watson (Connor Franzen) and Violet Imbry (Leah Schiffer). He plays off of everyone really well and isn't too over the top. Gerry Dunbar (Melanie Tanaka) is unbelievable. The progression of her characters so realistic, starting off as a very frantic director, to a laid back and "who cares what happens now" director. She works the best with Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker). The way in which they are polar opposites makes their relationship that much more hilarious. Phyllis is energetic and bubbly, almost giving off a hippie vibe. Her body language, alone, can tell a person exactly who she is.
The set, designed by Shelby Marsh, gives off the perfect stressful rehearsal look. As the show progresses, so does the set. Windows, pictures, walls, and furniture are added between acts just in time for the final performance. The set is very mis-match, giving it that "we can only use what we have" look. The costumes, by Grace Coil and Bre Pits, perfectly reflect the victorian era theme. All the ladies, except for the maid, are dressed in burgundy ball gowns and the men in tuxes with tails and bowties. The costumes are accurate to the time period and reflect the social classes of the characters. Lighting, Joe Rios, is a perfect story conveyer. Joe does a fantastic job of creating a projection of the logo of the show the company is producing and uses strobe lights to make it appear as if the performers were moving faster than reality.
"Play On", a hilarious show within a show by Los Alamitos Drama, deserves a standing ovation.
by Sydney Castiglione of Fullerton Union
Los Alamitos High School's latest theatre production: a "Play On!" a play
Ah, community theatre - a hodgepodge of people, ranging from middle-aged adults to wide-eyed high-schoolers. Throw in an airy playwright and a stressed director, and you got "Play On!"
The latest play of Los Alamitos High School depicts the realistic struggle of community theatre through a comedic lens. With a low budget, looming deadlines, and a script that keeps getting last-minute changes, the fictional cast and crew of the play "A Murder Most Foul" must persist to get the show on the road - or at least, make it through dress rehearsal.
Melanie Tanaka, who plays Gerry Dunbar, portrays the panicked theater director with a realistic energy. With rising tones and exasperated sighs, Tanaka effectively leaves the audience feeling intimidated, yet sympathetic, for the high-strung leader.
Connor Franzen exuded a robust energy as well, in the form of the sassy cast member Saul Watson. Franzen's keen sense of comedic timing peaked in the final act of the play, when his character, having lost all hope, showed up to the opening night performance completely drunk. With a lopsided gait and booming, slurred remarks, Franzen's energy had the audience doubled over in laughter time and time again.
The set design, led by Shelby Marsh, was a true work of art that developed with the play. In the first act, it was a ragged-looking theater set with peeled wallpaper and rackety metal chairs, conveying the atmosphere of a dingy rehearsal room. However, by the final act, on the opening night of "A Murder Most Foul," the Victorian-style paintings, golden candlesticks, and elegant couch truly made it feel as if it was a whole new play. It truly illustrated the progression of a production leading up to opening night through a purely visual aspect.
Overall, the production was a well-crafted work of comedy that captured the intricacies of not just community theatre, but any theatre production. The resounding nature of the work is one that any audience member can empathize with, as they witnessed first-hand the griefs and the joys that make theatre production such a chaotic, lovable entity.
by Calista Choi of Northwood
Los Alamitos' "Play On!" plays on plays
Paintings fall, props break, actors stumble, and the director sobs. These are the vignettes of the throes and woes of community theatre in "Play On!", a comedy where everything in a production of a continually changing murder mystery goes horribly wrong. Through the melodramatic reactions of the cast and unique stage elements, Los Alamitos magnifies the terror and hilarity intrinsic in the blunders of bad theatre.
Connor Franzen delights as the sarcastic male diva Saul Watson, strutting across stage with a cocked head and furrowed eyebrows to deliver snarky quips to the pompous Polly Benish, played by Micaela Erickson. She snarls before flinging a chair at him and storming off with an upturned chin and a puffed chest. Franzen returns as the drunk Dr. Rex Forbes, slurring phrases in an exaggerated, posh British accent while staggering into furniture. The bumbling persona either fondly caresses nearby paintings or interacts with the equally drunk Stephen Sellers (Louie Gallagher), playfully slapping each other as the other irritated actors try to deliver their lines over their incessant giggling.
Louie Gallagher also plays Billy Carewe, a staunch actor who is madly in love with the scatterbrained Violet Imbry, played by Leah Schiffer. While rehearsing, the two stare lovingly at each other with wide grins, but when they are alone on a sofa, they pounce on each other, aggressively smooching while flailing their arms and legs over each other and slowly sliding onto the floor.
Directing the crazy characters is Gerry Dunbar, played by Melanie Tanaka, whose constant eye rolls, craned neck, and shaking of her clenched fists illustrate her exasperation with the poor performance's progress. Countering her is the carefree technician Louise Peary (Alexiss Lloyd), who casually saunters to Tanaka to nonchalantly report something missing with a sigh. The pair is constantly frustrated by the whimsical actions of the playwright Phyllis Montague, played by Anna Baker. Baker loiters during scenes with a twirl of her dress, gazing at the actors' infuriated faces with sparkling eyes and a beaming smile, blissfully unaware of the intense glares surrounding her.
The costume design by Grace Coil enhances the progression from rehearsals to opening night. The cast begins wearing leggings, loose t-shirts, and worn sneakers before changing into suit pants, crimson ballgowns, and shiny black dress shoes.
Los Alamitos blends hysterical acting with impressive technical design to deliver a truly stand-out performance.
by Andrew Senkowski of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos delightfully decides to "Play On!"
An unfinished backdrop with golden stencils on overlapping evergreen wallpaper conveys a community theater atmosphere Los Alamitos excels in reproducing.
"Play On!" follows the hilarious train wreck of a play, "Murder Most Foul," whose kooky playwright sporadically rewrites the script days before opening night. With a disgruntled cast who barely remembers the original lines and a strained director vainly attempting to divert the disaster, the rehearsals and the final show progress from bad to worse in an uplifting, comedic way.
As the "Murder Most Foul" set and costumes gradually are finalized, they illustrate the inevitable motion towards opening night. From hard, metal chairs to a Victorian couch, the devoted attention to historical accuracy and intentional imperfection transform the production into a stressful, failing community theater show.
When the hilarious disaster of opening night occurs, some parts are sped up with the actors' quick, jerky movements and hastened voice recordings. The frantic fast forwarding of opening night enhances the show's hectic nature.
Grace Coil's costumes perfectly reflect not only the personality of the characters but also the normal evolution of a show through its major rehearsals to opening night. Saul Watson begins in darker clothing to portray his callousness, but as he plays Dr. Rex Forbes, he dons a flamboyant pink shirt with his suit, conspicuously protruding with costume and behavior.
The cast of "Murder Most Foul" seamlessly transitions from their characters to the actors themselves, dropping accents when confused or irritated. They excellently exaggerate mistakes from their colleagues, with widened, staring eyes at the hurried, disjointed gestures, stuttering, and furrowed brows of the bemused bungler.
Perfectly executing comedic moments, Connor Franzen's Saul Watson remains loyal to his extravagant personality that exemplifies the production's comedy, through poignant remarks, and when drunk, amplified flailing and even petting a telephone.
With an uplifted chin and pursed lips, Micaela Erickson becomes the snooty Polly Benish exasperated at the struggling rehearsals when she herself can hardly keep up.
Melanie Tanaka as tense Gerry Dunbar embodies her role as director with sharp, taut marches before the stage and piercing, frustrated shouts as she desperately attempts to smooth the edges of her coarse, jagged show.
Los Alamitos' production of "Play On!" celebrates the process of theater, with its thrills of joy and fear, and through thick and thin. As the saying goes: the show must go on!
by Caitlin Relvas of Santa Margarita Catholic
Playful Production in Los Alamitos's ï¿½Play On!'
With silly quips, sassy remarks, and a dysfunctional group of characters, Los Alamitos's ï¿½Play On!' tells the hilarious story of a community theater as they develop their production in a rather haphazard fashion. Faced with the obstacle of an ambitious playwright, the group must navigate the production timeline as they desperately try to finish developing the production on time.
Louise (Alexiss Lloyd) brings a playful comedic presence as she saunters about the stage in a sassy manner, coolly telling Gerry that she needs to work backstage while the actors rehearse. Running around backstage, Louise hammers, knocks, and builds as she openly and sarcastically distracts the rehearsing cast.
Gerry (Melanie Tanaka) presents a believably middle-aged director as she decreases her vocal resonance, and navigates around with a slightly hunched back. Tanaka's impressive voice acting complements Gerry's frazzled state as flaps her arms exasperatedly, and frantically paces back and forth, desperately trying to set the disorganized company back on track.
Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) create an endearing duo as the two nervously wander around each other onstage, bashfully avoiding their feelings for one another. They quickly find an opportunity to act on their feelings as the duo excitedly performs a kissing scene between their characters while the director and the rest of the cast are away. Red as tomatoes, both jump when Louise finds them, and desperately plead for her to keep quiet on the matter.
The scenic design by Shelby Marsh offers a genuine ï¿½community theater' experience and connects the audience with the development of the theater's murder mystery production. Using partially finished set pieces and backgrounds, Marsh's design encapsulates the timeline of the production as the pieces become gradually finished, moving from act one to act three.
The sound design by Faith Lee marries the lighting design of Joe Rios as both designs work cohesively to illustrate the ï¿½fast-forward' function creatively used in ï¿½Play On!'. Using strobe lights combined with a sped-up voice over of the actors' lines, the designs work with the actors as they perform their blocking in a quick manner onstage. The result is a clever fast-forward function which invigorates movement and artistically develops the play's storyline.
Complete with fabulous technical design and an immersive stage experience, Los Alamitos's ï¿½Play On!' is sure to excite.
by Chloe Grubb of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos' Play On! proves a play must go on
Every theatre rehearsal brings mountains of anxiety and frustration. The play Play On! demonstrates these obstacles within another play called Murder Most Foul: each of the three acts resembles the progression of a real rehearsal and show week. The cast of Los Alamitos express the struggles of show week through their mishaps of forgetting lines and losing props within the disastrous play of Murder Most Foul.
The constant wave of comedy among the cast is sprung by Connor Franzen, who plays Saul. Franzen's creativity of facial expressions aids the sassy and stuck up character of Saul. In Act Three, Franzen plays drunk and loosely drags his body across the stage mumbling on lines. Franzen's attitude within his comment about Polly's weight left no remorse, proving his impudent character. He applies extravagant and flamboyant arms to his reactions which serves as a source of entertainment and amusement.
Vibes of innocence and positivity sweep the stage through Leah Schiffer as Violet. Schiffer's light-hearted tone of voice and exaggerated smiles express diversity between the consistent frustration among the others. Schiffer shows her character's immaturity through confusion with her furrowed eyebrows and helpless eyes. During Act Three, Saul accidently drops a necklace in Violet's shirt. This originates laughter because of his goofy gestures which contrasts Schiffer's trembling hands and expressions of anguish.
The development of costumes, lighting, and makeup is parallel to the advancement of the rehearsals. In Act One, the lighting is spread brightly throughout the stage designed appropriately by Joe Rios for a typical rehearsal. It slowly progresses in Act Two to be centered on stage with brighter and dimmer light subjects as it reaches towards to the actual show during Act Three. The props by Kaylee McKay and the costumes by Grace Coil were chosen to be incomplete until Act Three which aids to the reality of a final and complete show. The Victorian Era is present within each costume and wigs on selected characters. Micaela Erickson, chief of makeup crew, designs the mature and sophisticated character of Phyllis Montague's makeup with wrinkles on the forehead. Just like Phyllis, Saul's mustache creates an allusion on stage for age and maturity.
Although rehearsals produce immense affliction and complication, the cast of Los Alamitos executes their masterpiece using comedic gestures enabling a connection for a real cast of performers.
by Elizabeth Scannell of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos' play produces plenty of laughs
A frantic director scurries through the aisles in front of the stage, barking orders at the stage director in front of her. The cast assembles on stage for practice, and it all goes downhill from there.
Los Alamitos High School produces lots of laughs with their hilarious production of "Play On!", which tells the story of a community theater group that experiences every worst-case scenario while trying to perform "A Murder Most Foul". Each cast member is skilled in the arts of comedic timing, and still manages to let the key aspects of their character flow into the character that their character is playing.
Some of the scenes that produce the greatest comedic effect involve an ingenious decision by the lighting designer and the actors to "fast forward". In the "love scene" where Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) kiss, the fast-forward effect becomes hilariously funny as the dialogue and actions are sped up.
The character Gerry, played by Melanie Tanaka, is a perfect embodiment of a stressed-out director before opening night. Her character also makes it feel as if the audience is watching an actual rehearsal as she rushes through the aisles giving orders to the actors and the crew.
On "opening night", Connor Franzen's character Saul Watson stands out from the rest and generates lots of laughter from the audience. Throughout the show, even when the comedic action is not centered around him he can be found maintaining his character's personality by mocking Polly (Micaela Erickson) and even stroking a telephone while "drunk".
Each of the actors do a phenomenal job of portraying characters that are accurate representations of theater stereotypes. Polly (Micaela Erickson) and Henry (Cole Schneider) are the bickering couple, and the chemistry between the two adds to every scene's comedic effect. The couples dialogue flows naturally throughout the show.
The theater department at Los Alamitos truly perfected the portrayal of a play gone wrong.
by Emily Freeborn of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos' Silly Play On!
The Los Alamitos production of Play On! excites the audience as they authentically depict the intensive process of putting together a community theatre play. The cast of Play On! displays complex characters which resonate through the relationships of the show as well as the play within a play characters. The cast members Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) innocently flirt throughout the rehearsal process. Billy (Louie) approaches Violet (Leah) nervously and asks to rehearsal their risquï¿½ scene. As they rehearse, their voices extent to one another and interlock with their eyes. In an instant, the rehearsal scene takes control. Reaching for one another, eyes yearning for each other, and vocal acceleration which draws up a greater tension of what is to come next. With the scene full of tension, Billy and Violet create confusion between the reality of show and the scene being rehearsed. The emotional release of the innocent, yet aggressive kiss confirms genuine
love which surpasses the scene.
Melanie Tanaka beautifully encompasses the directorial role through her character, Geraldine. Short tempered and frantic, Geraldine attempts to bring together a consistently changing play. Waving her hands, stomping, and quickly passing she reaches to her forehead- trying to come up with a way to bring the mess of a play together. When Geraldine exits the stage for the first time, her cast seamlessly brings together a once jumbled scene for the first time. Clenching her coffee and gazing, with the slightest smile, Geraldine embraces the crazy-wonderful thing called theatre. Melanie depicts this character in such a true way, and embodies the roller coaster of emotions which directors face throughout the rehearsal process.
The production, Play On!, chronologically goes through the last stretch of a community theatre production. The costumes, make-up, and set all expressed the genuine progression of the process. The missing wigs on dress rehearsal night, which appeared on opening night provided a realistic interpretation of the theatre process. Missing holes in the set represented the holes within the rehearsal process, but as they were filled, the show began to become a production.
Los Alamitos provides much laughter as they goofily express the reality of the lives of theatre people. The crazy process of putting on a production comes with many laughs and lots of love, which was clearly present among the cast of Play On!.
by Kennedy Kemmerer of Santa Margarita Catholic
A disastrous dress rehearsal, a cast of actors who spend as much time slighting each other as they do rehearsing, and a director at her witt's end. This is the opening scene of "Play On!".
Los Alamitos High school's "Play On!" captures the story of a theatre company stumbling and bumbling their way through performing the show "A Murder Most Foul", but with a meddlesome play-write adding last minute changes, hilarious disasters befalling the cast, they struggle to perfect the show before opening night.
The set for act one captures the reality of being in a show that is not quite finished, With exposed brick walls in the background and foldable metal chairs as stand-ins for furniture. The costumes also portray a realistic dress rehearsal, with actors in street wear instead of costumes. The set gets more complicated as the show progresses. The Victorian-era stenciling on the walls, added paintings, and actors in period costumes all help bring the play within the play to life.
Leah Schiffer gives an uproarious performance as Violet, effortlessly capturing not only the character of Violet, but the character Violet portrays in the show. Violet also has an on-stage romance with Billy, played by Louie Gallagher. Gallagher executes the comedic elements of the role seamlessly; his physicality makes every joke hilariously entertaining. The two have great chemistry, playing off each other's energy and making their scenes together that much more engaging.
Melanie Tanaka shows maturity beyond her years in the role of Gerry, perfectly embodying a stressed-out director. You can see the tension that her character is under in everything from her facial expressions to her posture. Chloe Lim as Aggie is also incredibly rooted in her character. Her unaffected attitude and sarcastic remarks bring this character to life. Connor Franzen's bold choices and movement added to the comedic value of the show. He captures his character with his hysterically exaggerated movements across the stage in the third act. Alexiss Lloyd's dry Witt brought life to her performance as Louise.
Overall, the Los Alamitos production of "Play On" is engaging and sprinkled with humor. For a Highschool production, the cast and crew executed this play within a play very well.
by Olivia Pannell of Santa Margarita Catholic
The show must go on at Los Alamitos
Los Alamitos performs "play on!" the play within the play. Play on exaggerates the last minute details of a productions company approaches opening day while facing minor inconveniences such as: the actors not knowing the third act, set being incomplete, the playwright rewriting the script, and the sound being erased.
Lighting has a simplistic outtake but used cleverly when the play mimics a dvd that is fast forwarding. Despite some minor inconveniences with props, the actors improvise and continue without a hitch.
The set construction was done cleverly by adding finishing touches to the set like wall timings and portraits as the company within the play gets closer to opening day .
Costumes contrasted characters as Dunbar wears flannels and t-shirts with muter colors and
Montague wears brightly colored flowing dresses. Costumes also mimicked crew as Louise, set designer and sound technician in the show wears paint splattered overalls as she begrudgingly makes brands for the director and finished construction.
Melanie Tanaka as Geraldine Dunbar the director of the play within the play frantically runs around the stage frantically fixing props and running rehearsal with actors. Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker) acts as a foil to Dunbar as she dashes across stage with a shrill voice and informs the actors of the rewrites in the script.
Connor Franzen who portrays Saul Watson exudes great comedic timing as his character mocks Polly Benish, played by Michaela Erikson. Erikson retaliates furiously and commands the stage with her snarky comebacks.
Chloe Lim portrays the fiery stage manager, Aggie Manville, as she feds lines to actors and sasses back with threats and runs around doing too many jobs at once.
Play On! does a great job recreating all the last minute anxieties and frustrations during the last minutes of a production with great acting and clever set design, lighting, costumes, and props.
by Anais Lino of Sunny Hills
Los Alamitos invites us to a night of chaos in their production of ï¿½Play Onï¿½, the play within a play.
The stage is a place to feel free and deliver the best performance you have ever given. But what happens before that? Melanie Tanaka shows us that in her portrayal of Geraldine, the stressed out director. Tanaka does well in showing us the emotions a director goes through, over the course of time we see how she deals with a frantic cast and crazy playwright only to blow up in the end. Anna Baker, plays the crazy playwright and takes us on a comedic journey due to the fact she keeps rewriting her show. She does an excellent job in using the tone in ger voice to get what she wants as well as her peppy walk.
The comedic gentlemen of the show did well in using all their energy in whatever they were doing. Franzen and Gallagher were very hilarious in their actions and physicality. From play fighting to being drunk these boys knew how to put on a performance.
Schiffer, Macy, and Erickson all brought different personalities to the stage. The teen who intends to strive in school, the lady in love, and the women who won't take no as an answer. They all do well in adding to the show.
Chloe Lim and Alexiss Lloyd brought humor to the stage as they showed us what it was like to work behind the scenes of a production. The blunt stage manager and sarcastic sound and light operator gave us the feeling of what it's like when everything goes wrong in a show, only fix it later on.
The technical elements of the show portrayed the process of a show. The set went from a non finished blank wall to a beautifully decorated house with furniture that fit the time period. The costumes and makeup started simple and casual as if showing us the actors normal clothes to very extravagant dresses, suits, and stage makeup.
The lights had a range of options. They were beautifully designed from having some on in the house to having the final piece done for the show. Strobe was incorporated to signify the passing of time and used as a fast forward effect.
The ensemble worked well together maintaining accents when performing their play and using each others energy to deliver a comedic show.
by Priscilla Canadas of Sunny Hills
The Play Must Go On At Los Alamitos
"Play On" is a play within a play over the series of time in which is well known as "Hell Week". Hell week is the week before the show. A time of stress, suffering, blood, and tears. For the theatre company of "A Murder Most Foul", things go a lot worse than anyone would have expected.
Melanie Tanaka steps into the shoes of a director and perfectly embodies one as Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar. Tanaka perfectly executes the character as we visually see and feel her stress level as the show begins to slowly creep closer and closer. Through large hand gestures and a furrowed brow, one may feel empathy towards her as we watch her internal struggle. Tanaka creates an extremely loveable and relatable character as she dashes through the audience and tries her very best to make it a "show" that no one will ever forget.
From the moment Anna Baker prances on stage as Phyllis Montague one envisions the entire atmosphere change on stage. While you see a variety of laid back and stressed actors on stage, when Baked pops onto the stage, you see annoyance on all of the actors faces as the writer of the play (Montague) pleads to change the script four days before the show. When denied, Montague dramatically sobs to try and get pity from the actors on stage. With a shrill voice and quick movements, Baker perfectly embodies the role of the exasperating Phyllis Montague.
Leah Schiffer as Violet and Louie Gallagher as Billy immediately come on stage with remarkable chemistry. When they got time alone, we really got to see how much chemistry they truly had. Although they were absolutely fantastic together, individually they prospered as well. Gallagher had a sort of slouched over posture with incredible facial movement embodying a goofy, yet loveable character, whereas Schiffer was far more uptight and proper and very well pronounced.
by Sammie Cano of Sunny Hills
Lo Sals Community Theater was out of the Frying Pan
into the Fire.
When Phyllis Montague, explains yet another change in her crazy and complicated play, behind her, the cast and crew, moving all towards her in different movements and directions, become filled with anger and annoyance, as if they had become balloons and the exhaustion and rage was the helium. Fore they know with more changes, meant more hectic rehearsing for all of them, which clearly was limited, due to the show opening being extremely soon. Lo Sal's, Play on, truly captures the stress and craziness putting on a show can cause.
The actor's makeup and costumes throughout the play stays accurate to how people going through the rehearsal process would be. For example, during act one in the first rehearsal we see, all the actors in casual and comfortable clothes and really simple basic makeup to create the everyday look, opposed to stage costumes and heavy stage makeup. Along with the makeup and costumes, the set design throughout the show seemed to progressively expand and become of higher quality making it truly feel like a real production in which rehearsal pieces eventually do get replaced with actual set pieces for the real performance.
An exceptionally clever aspect used within the show was when the lighting and sound manipulates the scene into looking as if someone had hit the fast-forward button on the T.V. This special little detail helps move the show along in parts that the audience has already seen.
Although in some parts of the play, the actors accents within the play "Murder Most Foul", are hard to understand, the overall projection from the players is well executed and clear. All the actors do a nice job of being able to go from their "in show" parts to their "off show'' roles and within the show it truly never feels forced. One example of an actress doing this really well is Michaela Erickson playing the role of Polly Benish. The way she was able to fluctuate her voice and facial expression between rehearsing the show and criticizing the rest of the cast, helped many moments in the play flow really nicely.
Play On does a fantastic job of creating an extremely accurate and relatable story of directing and putting on a show in community theater and is definitely one that can hit close to home for many.
by MaddyYoung of Yorba Linda
Los Alamitos' Play On!- The Comedy Within The Tragedy
Drama! Tension! Murder! All elements of the dramatic murder mystery, ensuring an evening of bloody confessions and contorted facial expressions. All elements of which Los Alamitos' Play On! has absolutely none. Drama is a fine choice, but this comedy within a drama brings it home with a fabulous, belly-laughter hit!
The storyline surrounds a small cast of mediocre actors attempting to put on a play, "Murder Most Foul", under the guidance of a stress-induced director. As she, the cast, and the tech crew frantically try to pull a show together in a hysterical four days, the playwright frequently interrupts the rehearsal with her massive script revisions. What could possibly go wrong? The only mystery in this show-stopper was if anyone would survive opening night!
Pulling everything together is Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar (Melanie Tanaka), the director, pacing about the audience shouting comical interjections to the actors.
Meanwhile, the mousy "Yoo-hoo!" of the hippie playwright, Phyllis Montague (played by Anna Baker), had every actor and crew member groaning at her irritating arrivals to rehearsals. Her "go with the flow" attitude complemented the stressful atmosphere among her cast.
Connor Franzen (playing Saul Watson) steals the show with his incredible comedic timing as he shoots witty jabs at the leading lady's unfortunate weight (Micaela Erickson), who gruffs haughtily at each joke with an impressive blush. Later in Act Three, opening night, Saul makes the dreadful mistake of drinking between acts. He mills intoxicatedly about the stage in an uproarious fashion with only half a villainous black moustache glued to his face.
Much credit for the show's success should also go to the set construction team. Student-built, painted, and furnished, a lot is to be said for the impressive visual and functionality of the set. The team keeps in mind that in the beginning of the rehearsal process, shows are messy. Iron chairs and paint-splattered ladders dominate the bare stage in Act One. By Act Three, books line the shelves, faded yellow curtains adorn the windows, and decorative oil paintings fill the green Victorian walls. Each new transition ran smoothly with the help of stage managers Emily Mankey, Owen Marubayashi, and Chloe Taylor.
In an evening of chaos, unimaginable mishaps, and a heaping helping of Murphy's Law, Los Alamitos High School gives none other than raw, utter heart in it's fantastic comedy Play On!
by Maya Valenciano of Yorba Linda
A Play Within Play On! at Los Alamitos
The jubilant comedy, Play On!, written by Rick Abbot, tells the story of a a group of actors putting on a community production of Murder Most Foul. Act one depicts the actors preparing for the show in their dreadful last rehearsals. Act two takes them to their final dress rehearsal and act three is opening night, where if anything can go wrong, it does. Through the entirety of the show, this production deals with constant changes being made by the overbearing, amateur writer of the play. One aspect of this performance that makes the story so realistic was the changing set pieces from one act to another. In the first act, the set resembles a play during the rehearsal process and has very few set pieces. Instead, just like in a real rehearsal process, they substituted pieces in the set for everyday items including metal folding chairs for a couch. Then, in the second and third act, closer to the opening, more pieces, including pictures and furniture, are brought onto the set.
Another strong choice Los Alamitos makes involves each character's costumes. During the first act, all the actors wear normal street clothes that matches each of their character's personalities well. For instance, the character Marla "Smitty" Smith, played by Macy Boren, wears a leather jacket with leggings and combat boots in the first act to resemble a teenage high school girl and later, in the second and third acts, she wears a maid's uniform to represent her character, Dorris, in their show.
A strong element to this show is each of the actor's character portal and commitment their characters and choices. With the play being a community production, the characters are a wide variety of ages and personalities. The director, Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar, played by Melanie Tanaka, is a prime example due to her convincing attitude and craziness a director would have during the rehearsal process of a show and this carried with her in all aspects of the show. Another actor who is committed to the portrayal of her character is Polly Benish, played by Micaela Erickson, who plays a middle aged theater lover. Her thrive to achieve greatness and want to make everything go well thoroughly resembles a high maintenance actress in the industry and she seamlessly connected to the character.
The show must go on, or, Play On!
by Will Fixa of Yorba Linda