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Oakton High School Suite Surrender

By • Dec 5th, 2012 • Category: Cappies

This just in: Claudia McFadden and Athena Sinclair are at it again! The notoriously feuding divas have become embroiled in another fight at the Palm Beach Royale Hotel, despite the admirable, if futile, efforts of the hotel staff. It hasn’t been this bad since the infamous incident of San Francisco! With swollen egos, mistaken identities, and the two pompous stars in the same suite, this day is sure to end in blood. Oakton High School had the whole sordid scoop in their uproarious production of Suite Surrender.

The farcical Suite Surrender by Michael McKeever had its première in 2008 at Caldwell Theatre Company in Florida. Athena Sinclair and Claudia McFadden are the biggest names in show business in the midst of World War II. But that’s not the only war going on; the two women possess an irreconcilable loathing for one another. Despite this, everything seems to be order for their individual performances at the National War Fund Benefit in Palm Beach – that is, until they are somehow mistakenly assigned to the same suite. As their assistants and the hotel staff desperately try to keep them ignorant of the other’s presence, hilariously ridiculous misunderstandings abound, all leading up to one dramatic reveal.

The fabulous Claudia McFadden was played with brilliant panache by Christine Cox. She, along with her equally marvelous counterpart Athena Sinclair (Natalie Morales), fully embraced her outrageous character, capturing the essence of the pampered prima donna. Her wacky eccentricities and absurd demands were adroitly offset by the harrowed hotel manager Dunlap (Spencer Waters). Waters masterfully amused the audience with his frenzied attempts to maintain his hotel; his dynamic movements and skillful pacing were nothing short of sublime.

Behind the burning rivalry of the clashing divas was an extraordinary cast of supporting characters. Murphy Stevens (Savannah Hemmig), the long-suffering secretary of Athena Sinclair, created a believable character through her sweet relationship with the unfortunate bellhop Francis (Raphael Ortiz), which was utterly authentic, while also remaining appropriately comical. Ortiz also worked well with his fellow bellhop Otis (Justin Pirocchi), whose childish behavior and clumsy antics were always priceless. While the entire cast was markedly gifted in physical comedy, the reporter, Dora del Rio (Madeline DeFreece) was a practical whirlwind of riotous chaos with her flamboyant strut and frantic gossip hunting.

The technical work was stunning overall, displaying meticulous attention to detail in every aspect. The set was aesthetically pleasing and boasted copious amounts of beautifully period details, giving the production a wonderfully charming backdrop. The props added to this effect, blending seamlessly into the elegant suite. The hair and make-up were also remarkable, perfectly appropriate to each character as well as to the time.

While the latest catfight in the great McFadden-Sinclair grudge may be over, never you fear! These two gorgeous stars will be bickering like spoiled children as long as there are National War Fund Benefits for them to grace with their presence. But still, the Battle of the Palm Beach Royale Hotel is surely one for the history books, just like Oakton High School’s memorable performance of Suite Surrender.

by Emma Paquette of McLean High School

Photo Gallery

Spencer Waters and Shanelucas Ramsey Madeline DeFreece and Spencer Waters
Spencer Waters and Shanelucas Ramsey
Madeline DeFreece and Spencer Waters
Justin Pirocchi and Raphael Ortiz Natalie Morales, Madeline DeFreece and Christine Cox
Justin Pirocchi and Raphael Ortiz
Natalie Morales, Madeline DeFreece and Christine Cox

Photos by Vanessa Gelinas

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