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Falls Church High School The Diviners

By • Dec 7th, 2010 • Category: Cappies

Take a boy who hasn’t taken a bath for more than a decade, a retired priest, and the city of Zion, population forty… and what do you get? The Diviners, by Jim Leonard Jr., tells the story of Buddy Layman (Brennan Jones), a mentally disabled boy who has had a chronic fear of water since the drowning of his mother at a very young age. C.C. Showers (Reggie Herold), a wandering man, finds work in Mr. Layman’s (Sam Johnson) garage. However, when the townspeople discover that he is a former preacher, the minister-less town tries to persuade him back into the work of God. The touching and tragic tale depicts the crossing of Buddy and C.C.’s lives as they both attempt to interpret the true meaning of religion.

The magnificent production was performed by the talented cast and crew of Falls Church High School.

Even with his disability, Jones allowed the character’s personalities to take a prominent role, and his easygoing charm was extremely likeable. Buddy’s curious demeanor and accent were consistent throughout the show.

Equally plausible was the chemistry between Buddy and his father, Ferris (Sam Johnson). The comedic actor of the show, Johnson used his old man demeanor to exchange playful banter with Buddy. Johnson demonstrated how the characterization of his gruff outer demeanor could be portrayed with his warm inner counterpart.

Although the script called for an extremely simple set (only two elevated wooden boards were used as set pieces), the cast was flexible, and easily convinced the audience of the setting quickly. The tech crew was also essential, changing the simple white background to different colors of light at scene changes, and using different sound effects pertaining to the setting.

The lighting, designed and operated by Bill Miller, was exquisite. Always on cue, the wide range of spotlights used was always on the designated characters. In the crucial finale of Act I, the spotlights slowly dimmed on Buddy, leaving an artistic and dramatic flourish with the audience before intermission.

Rachel James transformed the high schoolers into middle age with her aging makeup. The hair and makeup reflected the character’s ages to the last detail, with Ferris’ graying hairs down to Ms. Henshaw’s (Betsy Ryan) wrinkles.

The difficult production was performed with skill and poise by the cast and crew of Falls Church. The end of the show was received positively by well-deserved a roar of applause and a standing ovation from the audience.

by Keno Katsuda of Walt Whitman High School

Photo Gallery

Reggie Herold, Sam Johnson, Erica Taylor, Brennan Jones Erica Taylor, Brennan Jones, Reggie Herold
Reggie Herold, Sam Johnson, Erica Taylor, Brennan Jones
Erica Taylor, Brennan Jones, Reggie Herold
Reggie Herold, Brennan Jones, Boris Mewborn, Sam Johnson Brennan Jones
Reggie Herold, Brennan Jones, Boris Mewborn, Sam Johnson
Brennan Jones
Betsy Ryan, Helena Irene Shafer, Melanie Reuter
Betsy Ryan, Helena Irene Shafer, Melanie Reuter

Photos by Rich Stanage.

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is a program which was founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at cappies.com.

One Response »

  1. I attended the play, and agree that this was an incredible performance – far beyond what is usually expected or possible from high school theatre students. This play – the performances, staging, direction – stays with me now, a week later …. this is one off-Broadway show I will never forget. Well done Falls Church High School!