The perfect way to conclude a beautiful Saturday, and signal the end of summer, was to attend a play written, directed and performed by a talented group of teenagers. My grandson Dayan is a member of this creative bunch and I joined other parents and grandparents with high anticipation. I was not disappointed.
Tonight’s presentation was the culmination of months of hard work and preparation that took place over the summer. The kids do everything: create the stage, with working curtains and a backstage fashioned in the garage, make all the props and background pieces, write the script and memorize it through frequent rehearsals, and create the costuming and make up. Dayan has been part of this group for the last three years, however my understanding is that some of these kids have been doing these end of summer plays for years.
Jessica Dean wrote and directed the play and performed the role of Melody. Mason Phillips was the backstage director. The rest of the cast was: Emma Morrell-Ezzy, Dayan Reynolds-Hevic, Adam Stokes-Malac, Claire Morrell-Jen, Ryan Dean-Sycron, Nathan Dean-Kon, Gavin Phillips-Aarone. Jessica’s parents graciously turned their garage and driveway into an outdoor theater. Folding lawn chairs on the driveway provided the perfect seats for viewing.
My daughter Elissa, in attendance with husband Josh, explained that tonight’s play was a continuation of last year’s production, and this performance is the middle in a trilogy of stories. I missed last year’s play, but it wasn’t difficult to get caught up. In the story, a group of friends are having fun, doing what friends do…hanging out, sharing secrets, going to a masquerade dance and surprising a friend. The newcomer to the group, Hevic (played by Dayan), is a Russian immigrant with a sad tale that shadows his life. The friends attempt to draw him from his quiet reserve by including him in their activities.
Contrasted with these ordinary moments in the teens’ lives is a mysterious stalker named Malac (Adam Stokes), dressed in black. His intentions are ominous as he carries on conversations via phone with an unknown (to the audience anyway) partner in crime. He fails at an attempt to kidnap two of the characters and a well done fight scene ensues. It turns out Hevic and Malac know each other from Russia. Hevic blames the man in black for his father’s death. The play ended tonight with a cliffhanger. We watched as Malac has a tense conversation on the phone, warning his unseen partner that he’s about to take control of the situation by handling matters his way.
I loved this play! There were humorous moments, as when the characters revealed their phobias…June bugs and acorns brought chuckles, as did Hevic in a later scene when he said he was afraid of gravy. By making their fears rather laughable, I could peek at my own to find the ridiculousness there. And when Hevic gave a sad monologue about his life in Russia, soulful music began to play in the background. That cleverness brought laughs as well, the humor in the moment creating an interesting counterpoint to the sorrowful story of Hevic’s loss of his father and his flight to America.
And the masquerade dance, with the characters sporting masks, ties in nicely with the overall story and the play’s title. One of the characters revealed that he has a fear of masks, because of what they hide underneath. All is not as it seems among these friends. And what exactly is being hidden, besides the faces of the characters? Who is the man in black and what does he want, really?
Alas, I will have to wait another year to find out! Well done, cast of Masked Intentions. I am more than impressed by this group of young people who put so much time and effort into these productions, simply because they enjoy doing so. I love seeing creativity so wonderfully expressed. This is art, in its purest, truest form. It was not only entertaining to watch, but inspiring as well. The applause and cheers were well earned and I left light hearted and enchanted. I’m looking forward to next year’s play.