“Adults : they’re too set in their ways. High schoolers have a freshness, a willingness to learn and explore. Even if they don’t know where they’re going, they still believe that they’re trying to do something. They have that ability to trust,” explained Dos Pueblos High School’s theater director, Clark Sayre. These next two weeks bring us three theater productions: Santa Barbara High School’s A Village Fable, Laguna Blanca’s Crimes of the Heart, and Dos Pueblos’s The Visit. High school productions are often overlooked, for they cannot always convincingly convey life’s situations due to the actors’ age and lack of experience. Nevertheless, this fall’s trio overcomes these setbacks to create three youthful, innocent twists on the “real” issues, exposing adult life in its truest form.
1) A Village Fable: Starting last Thursday, James Still and Michael Keck’s A Village Fable is the first out of the proverbial gate. It is also the most playful. Set in a fantasy world, A Village Fable is “about outcasts and how they triumph over prejudice by binding their lives and fortunes to one another.” Directed by Otto Layman, this musical features all the dancing, singing, and action you associate with youth. Three scapegoats-a goat-man, an independent woman, and a prince-drive the fairytale to its happily-ever-after ending, in which we learn that courage comes from staying true to who you are.
2) Crimes of the Heart: Director John Beck is new to Laguna Blanca, and he is bringing an impressive level of professionalism to the school’s theater program, starting with his first production, Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart. He admits that working with high schoolers is different than working with professional thespians because of the inevitable time limitations set by homework deadlines and exam prep, but Beck still thoroughly enjoyed teaching the cast. Set in the South, the tragicomedy teaches “how to let go of unhealthy patterns of the past to move on, and the importance of leaning on people in times of crisis.”
3) The Visit: It was ironic that Director Clark Sayre chose this play before the economic crisis tumbled upon us. The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt is about an economically depressed town that hopes to pump some money into its financial system through its “hometown girl turned billionairess.” However, there’s a catch. In return for a very large donation, this generous billionairess wants the town to reap her revenge. Caught between their own downfall and a huge moral dilemma, the small town of Gullen reminds us about the long-term impact of the past, our own greed, and celebrity infatuation.