Every season a group of High School students participate in STC’s Teen Critic program. These students attend the productions, participate in workshops and craft critical reviews reflecting their unique perspectives on the performances. Fourteen young critics are participating in this year’s program.
For their final review, they were asked to use the skills learned over the year in whatever format or length they wanted. Below are excerpts from those reviews.
Pria Dahiya, Junior
Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School
Douglas Griffin, Senior
Wakefield County Day School
As a reviewer, I had the interesting position of coming into the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s recent production of Camelot with very low expectations, having once watched the movie and been so unimpressed that I turned it off midway. However, to my delight, these expectations were astronomically surpassed. The show I had thought to be quite frivolous and trite proved to be much deeper and meaningful than I had thought.
Maggie Klein, Senior
Oakton High School
Camelot remains politically relevant, a fact subtly emphasized by director Alan Paul. Beneath the lush sets and costumes is the simple story of a leader struggling to bring goodness to a kingdom of violence and division. Ken Clark is endlessly believable as he portrays the rise and fall of King Arthur and by extension, the rise and fall of Camelot. From his first moments on stage as a spry young man escaping the prospects of an upcoming arranged marriage to his return to the same forest as a defeated, plodding old man in the second act, Clark captures every angle, emotion, and tortured decision of the complicated king who holds the weight of a world on his shoulders
Lily Pérez, Sophmore
Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
The chemistry within the central love triangle was the most genuine aspect of the production, with Alexandra Silber and Nick Fitzer (as Guenevere and Lancelot) both delivering rich vocals which complemented several romantic ballads.
Becca Kurtz, Sophomore
School Without Walls
I was impressed by Floyd King as the somewhat senile Pellinore, and Patrick Vaill as a seething, red-hot, satanic Mordred. King played Pellinore for what he really symbolizes – Ignorance. Every stupid question seemed legitimate instead of giving away the laughs to come, and the physicality of his fully armored entrance was unabashedly ridiculous. Mordred’s position in this play is unavoidably cliché, but Vaill plays it with fire and persuasion. It becomes hard to see him as a son, and easier to call him evil. In all fairness, I’m also susceptible to the Scottish accent…
Isabel Echavarria, Junior
Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School
Because there was practically no set, I felt my relationship with the story and the actors on stage were deeper and more personal. The lack of a complex set made me feel more a part of the world for the characters because there wasn’t a boundary created by an elegant set contrasting with the theater. Both the stage and the atmosphere of the theater blended together making the viewer feel as if they were part of the show. The world of Camelot was one created by performances of the actors and my own imagination. Often times I feel musical theater can be impersonal and too presentational to be intimate. This is the result of large company numbers and immaculate sets, which although are breathtaking to watch, prevent me from forming a deep connection to the story and to the performers. I felt that by keeping the focus completely on the three main actors, the production became more personal.
Trevor Ross, Senior
I must say that this is the best use of lighting I have seen in a production yet. The lighting is used different ways and in different scenarios all throughout and each time it is used to establish something within the story. At one point the lighting is used to signal the attraction between Guinevere and Lancelot as two separate spotlights shine on them both as they look at each other. When Lancelot sings to Guinevere and the two embrace each other, pink light shines on them, representing their love. My favorite use of the lighting involves King Arthur knowing about the affair between the two as he is about to knight Lancelot. But Arthur is torn between knighting Lancelot or killing him on the spot. The entire stage is dark as the only light is a spotlight following Arthur as he monologues on what he should do. It is a powerful and emotional scene sold by Clark’s performance and the phenomenal use of the lighting.
Rachel Wei, Senior
Thomas S. Wootton High School
Likewise, the beautiful costumes designed by Ana Kuzmanic and fairytale scenery designed by Walt Spangler brought home the mystical vibe of Camelot as a perfect, dreamy kingdom, making its demise even more tragic. The flowing robes and dresses made of heavy, curtain-like material conveyed a sense of real royalty and pomp in Camelot’s prime. Spangler creatively used an abundance of fall leaves spread all over the stage to represent a passing in time between the first and second act, and to bring color and liveliness to the dark, wooden stage. The leaves were naturally spread and re-spread by the moving of chairs, sweeping of robes, and the like which made them feel more like a part of the stage than just a scenic add on.
Ester Luna, Freshman
Washington International School
I would recommend Camelot to anyone, regardless of whether or not they are usually interested in musical theater. The passion with which each cast member embodies their role and delivers their lines constantly had me on the edge of my seat, anticipating what would happen next. The soundtrack, singing, costumes, set, and interpretations are enchanting, making for an unforgettable production of a timeless, epic story of love and revenge.
Molly Marsh, Sophomore
Oakton High School
Applications for the 2018-2019 Season of Teen Critic are currently open. Click here to find out more.