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DOWNEY – Booming sounds, flashing lights, and rampant weather are natural effects usually associated with thriller movies. But these elements were not involved in a movie, but rather a play performed by Downey High School’s drama program. “Hide and Seek” created much controversy and brought light to the locals of what is truly inappropriate for high school drama.
“Hide and Seek,” the little-known thriller by Lezley Havard, was presented to the Downey community in early February for a week. The stage was rather in shambles with the mix-matched furniture, rags lying about casually, and assorted knick-knacks. The agenda for the play explains that the Crawford’s have currently relocated to farmhouse in upstate New York that is undergoing severe renovations.
Elena Ortiz, playing the “very pregnant” lead Jennifer Crawford, opens the play by descending the stairs and complaining about the disastrous house. Soon enough Richard Crawford, played by Jose Zuniga, arrives to his broken home and he and his wife begin to argue. The play continues with Jennifer spotting a small girl, with messy braids and dressed in a frayed pinafore, swinging in the backyard. But this is impossible because this little girl has been missing for years, and coincidentally she is the daughter of neighbor’s John and Elly Bart (played by Jesus Juarez and Jeanette Nitao).
Later, Richard’s brother, Tony Crawford, played by Ian Adams, and his fiancée, Vicky Bennet, played by Natalie Medrano, arrive for dinner and Tony taunts Jennifer about the little girl-amongst other things. Through Tony’s tone, it is implied that he is the father of Jennifer’s unborn child. There is a storm, the power goes out, and the mystery ensues.
Ortiz and Adams, with foul sin-filled roles, were the support and frame of the entire play. The passion shown in their lines, interactions, and expressions was epic, to say the least. By placing herself in Jennifer’s shoes, Ortiz pictured how she would react to a particular situation, and was thus able to understand her. Adams, who has a knack for eerie genres, saw this play as another way to discover the mystery in all forms of art.
“Hide and Seek” received wonderful reviews from students. Yet the teachers that attended the play could not help but disagree with their views. The edgy and dark attempt made by the director(s) was shortsighted, they said.
A little research would have told the directors that the play was a failure when it was initially performed in 1980. After only nine performances it was removed from stage.
Published: February 19, 2010 – Volume 8 – Issue 44