Sheyenne High’s ‘The Outsiders’ was a good kid on a bad path of its’ own
It was not that this show was bad, simply that I wished for more. More energy, more emotion and more differentiation. The intensity was lacking and some lines that should have had so much emotion were delivered like a flat rate package at the Post Office.
When you say something heartbreaking, your own heart should crack in half and the audience should react in some noticeable way. And by being on differing levels more often, you had tension and peaks to your show.
As a theatre critic and a theatre participant, I have a few basic principles that I notice during every show I attend. One big one is taking the power away from the most important thing or person on stage in a scene.
For example, in preparation for the big scene where Ponyboy and Johnny get jumped, two people wheel out a well-crafted fountain from the wings. The problem with this comes with wheeling a very large and very loud set piece on stage while there is still an important scene going on. We get distracted and the moment is gone.
Another basic principle is the use of levels and staggering. It is a little dull to watch a show that seems to occur entirely on the exact same plane outside of, I believe, a total of five scenes.
Even then, they were more short moments within a scene rather than an entire scene. Adding platforms and varying heights and levels draws us to important characters or moments. Much of this production felt like a very one-dimensional scene because it all took place at eye level.
Finally, my third most looked for critique is that of line deliverance. I myself was taught to always jump on the end of someone’s line unless directed otherwise for specific moments of tension. This means that when one line ends, the next one begins.
Although this can be difficult, it is important for the audience so there are no awkward pauses where we wonder if someone has forgotten a line. Forgetting a line is not a usual occurrence of course, but it still is the first place our minds wander.
I look forward to returning to Sheyenne High School in the winter and spring for their upcoming shows. Continue to hone your skills and remember to practice like you live and breathe soap operas. After all, theatre is just one big drama fest.