Last month in Peabody Veterans Memorial High School a cleverly done play, Shadowbox, done with talent beyond the high school actors' years was performed.
Sets in Peabody's auditorium are always created with the finest detail in mind and this time was no different. The set included a cottage created using a platform on top of which housed real couches, kitchen complete with working refrigerator, screen door and back room for actors to exit to. Props are always done as precisely as can be done as well. Wine bottles, cigarettes, IV's wheelchairs, camping goods, picnic tables, and anything else imaginable relating to any other character was in the play. Costumes in this play, since the setting was based in contemporary times, consisted mostly of contemporary clothes but actors portraying adults wore sweater vests or nice shirts, the elderly wore clothes slightly dated, and children in modern clothes.
Music was played by a sound technician only at the beginning of the play and after intermission ended.
All the acoustics carry magnificently in the auditorium which was constructed twenty years ago specifically for the purpose of carrying a great sound. If Peabody had a THX technician come down they might be certified that same day.
Lighting was handled impressively as well. Lighting was all done according to mood, soliloquy and section. Of the three sections to stage was separated in, each section was well lit when its actors were to take the audiences eye while the lighting on the others sections dimmed.
Another amazing aspect of the play was choreography. There were no seconds in which you waited for anything; there was always something grabbing your attention. After the first actor left the stage with his first footstep came the next actor's foot onstage. Arguments sounded real to the point where the audience was visibly alarmed and shaken. Lines were immaculate. I had to remind myself constantly not to worry, it was just a play.
As usual, Peabody's Richard Carey did a fantastic job putting it all together. Carey made sure every actor was near perfect and got the play ready in a very short time. Timings were down pat and blocking was handled well.
The acting though, truly made the play. Two scenes from two different actors resulted in a standing ovation at the end of the play. The first was done by actor Max Spaderna in an argument between he and his wife on how to carry on a relationship knowing his death was soon ahead. It was a very upsetting conversation brilliantly performed by Spaderna bringing sniffles to all. In five years of attending plays at the high school, never had I been inclined to get emotional at a play however it was impossible not to be touched by his performance. My girlfriend was grateful for the spare tissues I keep for my allergies.
The other scene was acted by Angela DiVecchia who portrayed an elderly woman with death just around the corner but holding off for a daughter she is told who is coming but in reality who has passed away a while ago. Her anger and resentment towards life brought tears out of many eyes.
Any person who ever read this play should have seen this production. It's a shame they don't sell copies of the tapes they record for the cast because surely they'd make more money and surely I'd own a well-worn copy.