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Manassas Park High School Hiroshima: Crucible of Light

By • May 12th, 2010 • Category: Cappies

Blinding white covers the stage. In the center, one large white box has exploded open. Words are projected in the background – Hiroshima: Crucible of Light. Manassas Park High School’s production of Hiroshima: Crucible of Light was not your normal high school play, but a thought-provoking production that offered a creative political discussion on the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Hiroshima: Crucible of Light is divided into many scenes, each blending into one another but each standing out differently. The play follows the path of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II: starting out with Icarus (Kenny Moore) discovering the gift of flight, moving to many other stories such as Marie Curie (Sarah Dean) discovering radium and opening ‘Pandora’s Box,’ to finally the atomic bomb dropping in the last scene. Throughout the play Oppenheimer (Jason Rose) weaves in and out, portraying his extreme guilt with his creation of the atomic bomb. In the back of the stage Manassas Park had a projection screen that guided the audience along.

Hiroshima: Crucible of Light was first performed at a College Theatre Festival at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts in 1997, and written by Robert Lawson. The script is littered with allusions and metaphors throughout that made the meanings difficult to grasp but made for a production full of depth. Many characters were based on famous people in history, or parts of history itself. Enola Gay (Shanna Bess) personified the plane and The Fool’s (Michele Katsaris) character was from King Lear by Shakespeare. Some characters’ actions were also allusions to different literary works: Oepdius Rex and Antigone by Sophocles, and even the Bible were referenced.

With a confusing storyline, Manassas Park’s cast did their best to connect each scene and keep the message of the show consistent. As called for in the script, most of the actors played multiple roles. While some actors’ demeanors didn’t change from role to role, Kenny Moore, who portrayed Sparky and Icarus did a good job taking two roles and keeping them separate.

As Oppenheimer, Jason Rose portrayed a relatable man who shone in the climax of the play. Enola Gay, played by Shanna Bess, utilized every ounce of her person towards her character. Her posture, line delivery, and timing were near perfect. Shannon Kitchen, who played Women in Wheel Chair and the Mom in The Periodic Table scene, had excellent line delivery; captivating the audience.

Manassas Park’s production was uniquely directed by student Jessica Conaway. Conaway took a mature show and translated it to the high school stage well. The pictures created with her blocking gave as strong as a message as spoken words.

The lighting, sets, and special effects bumped up the intensity of the show. Lighting, done by Geoff Baynard, varied to lighten or darken the mood. The set, produced by Neil Shoults, Rosa Ruiz, Frank Kasik IV, and Jason Rose made an instant impact with its simplicity. Stage Manager Alysa Bragg executed an efficient stage crew, and Tech Master Geoff Baynard worked the projection screen, a vital aspect of the show.

We will truly never forget August 6th, 1945: the day time stood still. Those nine seconds changed the direction of the modern world. In Manassas Park High School’s production of Hiroshima: Crucible of Light, a diverse subject was presented on stage, with a lot of hard work from a cast and crew, that left an impression on every audience member.

Elizabeth Storey of Osbourn High School.

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