Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Woodbridge Senior High School Night Watch

By • Oct 28th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

Elaine and John played by Julie Sowers and Connor Butler

Can’t manage to take a nap? Then get out of that bed and go catch Woodbridge Senior High School’s rendition of Night Watch, a play by Lucille Fletcher.

Lucille Fletcher is best known as a suspense writer, with works such as the widely performed one-act Sorry, Wrong Number. In 1973, Night Watch was adapted into film starring Elizabeth Taylor. The story revolves around the insomniac Elaine Wheeler when she catches a glimpse of a dead body in the neighboring building. Everyone places skepticism in her assertions, including the police, her friends, and her husband, John Wheeler, who threatens to send her to a psychiatrist. The plot explores cryptic, hidden alleys in Elaine’s disturbed life, all building up to the final, jaw-dropping scene.

Elaine Wheeler (Julie Sowers) orchestrated the show with her classy stage presence and deeply controlled character growth. She slowly constructed her anxiety, adding layers to her already complex character. Sowers exemplified leadership by subtly readjusting other actors who were not correctly facing the audience, doing so with focused character motivation.

Appleby (Sam Cooper) stood out from the pack with his eerie voice inflection and flamboyant stage presence, adding a touch of comic relief in a solemn play. Blanche (MaryRuth Hart) exuded total conviction to her feigned empathy, later justified in the surprise ending. John Wheeler (Connor Butler) made excellent choices when conveying his relationship with others by creating differences through his interactions.

Praise goes to the characters on stage at the end of act one. There was a missed black-out cue. But against the peril, most of the characters recovered and exited the scene in a plausible manner, which showed great maturity and character commitment. During suspenseful scenes, recorded music was played to invoke more tension in the atmosphere. The screeching violins and ominous drums were effective in some scenes, however, some music felt unfitting for the mood, and other times the music seemed to be going in and out of audio. Whatever the case, the intricate effort was a thoughtful embellishment to a show otherwise simplistic in its technical nature.

In act two, the actors improved on their weak aspects. But initially, actors lacked in enunciation, projection, and clarity. The show gained powerful momentum, making the finale all the more shocking and chilling.

After viewing Night Watch, one only can gaze outside a lonesome window and ponder the sorts of things just waiting to be found, or more appropriately, waiting to find them.

by Janice Van of South County

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