Theater Info for the St. Louis region

Francis Howell High School Distracted

By • Nov 15th, 2011 • Category: Cappies

The stage of Francis Howell High School is dark except for three screens playing different news footage. Suddenly, the screens turn to static and all that can be seen is a – Was that a squirrel?!

Over the weekend, Francis Howell High School put on a production of Distracted. It’s a comedic tragedy told from the point of view of a mother, who deals with multiple opinions on how to raise her child and several medications when learning her child has ADD/ADHD. It seems to the mother that everyone has an opinion on how to raise her child. When a small problem like an anxious kid becomes a full-blown tragedy that can tear a family apart, the mother must make her own decision on what’s best for her child, and learning that just being there when she’s needed most, is more important than any other drug. Other things talked about in Distracted involve very controversial issues such as cutting, divorce, and intimacy.

The set was perfect for the show. Going with the “distracting” themed involved a different vibrant color on each wall, multi-colored steps, and multiple settings in one area. This made for a convenience when transitioning to different settings, among which included a kitchen, doctor’s office, therapist office, a bed room, and even an outdoor intersection.

The technical aspect was beyond impressive for a high school production, using three projection screens for several different things. Including the televisions, which would play Spongebob clips and athletic games, all still going with the “distracting” theme, making you feel like you would actually get distracted at times. They were also used for different “paintings” to indicate a different doctor’s office, web pages, and even showed an instant messaging conversation between two people as it happened, all adding on an entirely new concept to realism in the theatre.

One character standing out was the father (Nic Branson). Branson’s character was the most realistic, making audience members believe at times he certainly was a father, as opposed to a high school student. The character of Vera (Katie Angeli) got several laughs from her antics as a typical mother with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The main character, the mother (Ashely Unland) was also a sight to see. Unland had an exceptionally big load of lines to memorize, with uncountable monologues and intense emotions. If Unland ever messed up, nobody would have been able to point it out.

Overall, the show was something to see. The twist and turns in the plot line kept you wondering how it will all end, yet it was all made into a story keeping up with recent times within the 21st Century. This was not a show you wanted to miss.

by Jessica Olsen of Francis Howell North

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