The Theatre Department ran a production of “Admissions” written by Joshua Harmon, which addresses social issues such as racism and sexism.
The play follows Sherri (played by Anastasia Rauch), who is head of the admissions office at Hillcrest, a New England prep school, as she fights to diversify the student body. Her husband, Bill, (played by Chase Heckaman), works as headmaster at the same school.
These two hold liberal beliefs as is expressed throughout the play.
Their son, Charlie, (played by Scott Nolan), is trying to figure out where he stands on these issues after being deferred from Yale, while his best friend Perry (son of a white mother and mixed-race father), gets accepted.
Perry’s mother, Ginnie (played by Jessica Cretors), speaks for her son and the struggles he faces as a black student. Roberta (played by Rebekah Seidman), designs the Hillcrest catalogue, as Sherri pushes to have a perfect, diverse representation.
I have mixed feelings about “Admissions.” This had nothing to do with the cast and crew, as the acting was wonderfully impassioned, and the technical designs perfectly accented the story. I was blown away by how well done the acting was in this show, not only during monologues but also in the dynamic built between the cast.
Anastasia, Chase and Scott collectively created an unmatched family dynamic. Jessica added greatly to this, seamlessly transitioning between scenes of conflict and friendship. Rebekah did a fantastic job of portraying an older woman, something that is difficult to achieve. The set and lights felt homey and true to life, the props adding a finishing touch.
I can imagine it would be difficult to play these characters, as they all have conflicting moments in the show, and most scenes require a lot of intense emotion. All of these ups and downs were natural and captivating. This small but mighty cast did an equally outstanding job at portraying complex, controversial characters.
I found quite a few moments in this show that I didn’t find believable. At times, the dialogue felt like a bit much. It seemed almost every scene was a bunch of yelling. This felt like a “they’re yelling so this is a compelling script” mentality. Charlie also has a monologue which is entirely too long. His sudden and drastic character change at the end of the show did not feel believable to me, and I did not see much of a lead up to that point.
The mood of each scene either felt highly intense or casual, there was almost no in-between. This made it hard to keep up with the pace and overall mood of the show. While I think the premise is provocative and interesting, the script falls short of what it’s attempting to do.
I felt myself longing to hear from characters such as Perry and his father, or others within the 20 percent of students of color that Sherri worked to recruit at Hillcrest. While I see what Harmon is getting at, I think this is a missed opportunity to include a variety of voices on the topics discussed in this show.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.