Senior Scenes opening weekend deemed a success


Yasmin Reyes, staff writer

After months of hard work, the Strawberry Hill Players proudly presented their 20th Senior Scenes. The annual show is comprised of scenes taken from plays and is directed by the senior members of the SHP and each scene is performed by no more than four underclassmen. This year the show featured seven scenes.  


The night started off with my overall favorite performance: a scene taken from Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, directed by senior Sydney Rubin, who is an active member and vice president of the SHP. The performance was carried out by sophomore Alex Wayne who portrayed the anxious Mindy, and Joe who was wonderfully played by freshmen Alex Rubin. The scene portrays the anxious couple bickering over their daughter who was having second thoughts on her very expensive wedding day and had locked herself in the bathroom. The actors and director did a wonderful job carrying out the scene and had the crowd laughing the whole time.


The second scene was from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and was directed by Rebecca Ferrante. This scene followed a couple, Blanche, played by freshmen Maddie Maxfield, and Michael “Mitch”, played by sophomore Brendan O’Brien. As their date comes to an end, Blanche invites Mitch in for a drink. The two characters have very opposing personalities. While Blache appears to be bold, there is something she is hiding from the more timid Mitch. After an awkward conversation, Mitch reveals how his mother is ill, leading to Blanche revealing the secret of how she lost her first love. The scene ends in the two in an embrace after an emotional night. Unlike the previous scene, this one started lighthearted and ended in a serious tone. The actors did a great job getting into character, although Mitches southern accent could be hard to understand at times.   


The third scene was from Tom Griffin’s The Boys Next Door, directed by Timothy Liam Gellin, who has participated in several shows throughout the years including the All-School Musical. The scene followed three of four mentally disabled people: Arnold Wiggins, played by freshmen Lucy Santora, Lucien P. Smith, played by sophomore Justin Villard, Norman Bulansky, played by freshmen Julie Morris, as well as social worker Jack Palmer, played by sophomore Matt Murray. Mentally disabled people are not use of entertainment; they are real people who face real problems, and the actors who portrayed these characters did a great job at keeping everything appropriate and did it in a comedic yet serious tone. This scene itself was a bit hard to follow, but the actors did a terrific job.


The fourth scene was taken from David Auburn’s Proof, directed by Cara Grasso, who is also directing the SPH’s show Leaves and is the current president of the SPH. This scene starts with Catherine, played by freshmen Hannah Schager, and a devoted physics student Hal, played by sophomore Brendan O’Brien, sharing a kiss. Shortly after their kiss, Hal leaves and Catherine is joined by her older sister Claire, played by Emmy Sigtryggsson. The two sisters start arguing over what’s going to happen to their home that is located on the university’s campus now that their father, who used to be Hal’s professor, has passed away. Claire pushes for Catherine to move to New York with her because she has nothing to do in their current home. As they’re arguing, they are interrupted by Hal, who is holding a notebook containing a new mathematical discovery. Both Hal and Claire believe it belonged to the sisters’ late father, but the scene ends with Catherine revealing that the notebook belongs to her and shows Claire that Catherine may not have to move to NY. The actors kept a serious tone throughout the scene but shocked the audience with the reveal of the notebook’s owner in the end.


The fifth scene is taken from Trey Clarkson’s Rosie The Riveter, directed by Emma Sharma, who has been in the SHP since her freshman year and has been involved in several other performances. This scene was especially important to her because of the current political climate. The scene takes place in Eddie’s auto parts factory during World War II. The factory is currently struggling to maintain itself, but Rosie, played by sophomore Emma Valerio, suggests to Eddie, played by sophomore Connor Riley, that they make airplane parts instead. The factory had been losing workers, one worker being played by sophomore Jesus Dela Rosa Reyes. Eddie realizes Rosie’s idea may be the only way to keep business going, and he will allow her to do it–if she manages to get female workers. Rosie accepts his challenge. A new worker, played by Darline Fleurimond, enters to show that although she may look like a fragile woman, she has a lot of potential and skills that most men don’t. Overall, the actors all did a great job and the scene was empowering for females and the audience.  


The sixth scene is from John Guare’s Six Degrees Of Separation, directed by Riley Morris, who has been a long term member of the SHP and has participated in several shows throughout her four years in SHS. The show begins with John Flanders “Flan”, played by Alex Rubin, and his wife Louisa “Ouisa”, played by freshmen Krina Zaleski. They are a wealthy couple who live a luxurious life. In this scene, Louisa receives a call from her daughter, played by freshmen Maddie Mallozzi. The call doesn’t last too long because of an incoming call from a frantic Paul, played by Justin Villard, who has just committed a crime and wants help from Ouisa. Flan tells her to hang up and leave him, but the good-hearted Ouisa refuses too and eventually convinces Paul to turn himself in. Paul is taken into custody and never heard from again. Since Ouisa and Flan are not family members, nor do they know Paul’s real name, they never hear about him, but hear about a young black man who killed himself while he was in prison. The identity of the man is never revealed, but it’s speculated that the man was Paul, and the scene ends there in a dark and serious tone. This scene showed how these actors are capable of performing something much more serious than what they may be used to and they did a great job doing so.


The night ends with Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, directed by John Bolognino, who has performed in numerous productions with the SHP. The play starts in a tiny apartment with newlyweds Corie, played by Francis Vandervoort, and Paul, played by Elder Rivera. Corie is excited and ready for their new life. She has a positive outlook on the situation and is trying to turn the small apartment into a home. Harry, played by Jas Joseph, just finished installing a telephone when Paul arrives from work and is waiting for a call about his job. This scene shows the struggles the couple will have to face in their new worn out apartment while having two opposing personalities, but still being in love. The show itself was filled with small elements of comedy and the actors did a great job at portraying their character.


The night was filled with all sorts of emotions and is definitely a must see. I would highly recommend watching Senior Scenes 21 next year, but if you can’t wait, you can see the SHP present Strawberry Hill Improve Players (SHIP) on February 8, April 5, and June 17. Catch them as they play for competition at the Connecticut Drama Association Festival on March 8 and 9 and later in the year as they perform The Addams Family on April 26 and 27 and May 3 and 4.