Breaking precedent: Born Yesterday review

Adrianna Chandler

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Senior Tyler Lee & senior Matt Gonzalez / Photo by Brooke Lasley

Ever since last year’s production of “Rumors,” I had reserved my judgment towards the fall play as relatively mediocre with sizable room for improvement. “Born Yesterday” has defied my precedent.

Based on Garson Kanin’s play of the same name, the adaptation by drama teacher and director Jeremy Clay, holds faithful to the source, retain the themes of domestic abuse and how ignorance is not necessarily bliss.

For the first show of the year from the stage management class, it didn’t seem likely that the show would be anything better than okay; that was most certainly not the case. Every single performer deserves excessive amounts of praise, for bringing so much personality and character to his own character. Sure they weren’t perfect, they are still high school students in their first staring performance of the year; this doesn’t necessarily give them a complete pass, but it shows that with a few more months and a few more shows, they should get the hang of it.

To step away from a general view of each performer, it may be better to focus in some on individual performances. Senior Taelor Shropshire’s performance as the protagonist Bille Dawn was absolutely phenomenal.

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Senior Tyler Lee & Taelor Shropshire / Photo by Brooke Lasley

Managing to keep a Bostonian accent the entire show and perfectly keeping to the characteristics of an airhead takes some major talent, as it could be just as easy to fall into a stale blank performance. Her facial expressions were always playing the part, flawlessly connecting to each of her lines. Even in the instances where she might flub a line, she would play it off as just a stutter or a malapropism, making the uncertain nature of Billie more alive.

Next to Shropshire’s excellent Billie was senior Matt Gonzalez’s Harry Brock, a loud gaudy man is portrayed exactly as such by Gonzalez.

The amount of vehemence within just one of his lines is absolutely compelling, and whenever he yells, there is not one ounce held back, absolutely chilling. Gonzalez’s only mishap was his tendency to slur together some of his lines so fast that many times the message was a challenge to decipher, but how he emphasized his words and the temper of his voice sort of conveyed his point. So it is a bit of a toss up with Gonzalez, but overall a fantastic performance.

One of the more difficult characters to sum up would be senior Brandon Jones’ performance as Paul Verall.

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Senior Taelor Shropshire & senior Brandon Jones / Photo by Brooke Lasley

The character is intelligent, to the point and strong. Jones took the direction of a more terse, stiff-lipped and slightly monotone character, which is by no means a bad direction; it does give Paul a more educated feel. But in the scenes where Jones would show intense emotion while yelling, it shows that he has the ability to give Paul a little more subtle personality aside from monotone smart guy. This could just me a matter of personal preference, so suffice it to say that Jone’s did characterize his role well, but has potential to add some more depth.

As for the rest of Harry Brock’s gang, senior Tyler Lee’s role as Ed Devery was the perfect representation of the over-stressed lawyer just trying to keep Harry’s plan rolling, but also had the same fast talking problem as Gonzalez, so some room for improvement.

Senior Karim Elemansoury as the Senator wasn’t too bad, as his complacent sort of stale portrayal juxtaposed Billie and Harry hilariously.

As for all of the more background roles, like senior Zoe Ragsdale as the maid Helen and senior Kyle Thompson as Eddie were quite decent despite the lack of talking lines, never distracting to much from the scene.

Most certainly a huge improvement from last year, “Born Yesterday” only has one major problem; it ends way too soon. When a cast creates such wonderful characters, it seems almost to pull them away so quickly. There will be two more performances this week, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $5 at the door.

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