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Lake Braddock Secondary School Rashomon

By • May 29th, 2013 • Category: Cappies

In countless sitcoms and movies, an event is recounted by several narrators, each of whom have widely differing accounts of what truthfully occurred, each account favoring the narrator’s esteem. While commonly employed for comedy, this device was first used in Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short story “In a Grove.” The story was adapted into the successful 1950 Japanese film, “Rashomon;” the tale of a Samurai’s murder and his wife’s rape by the infamous bandit Tajumaru. The story of the Samurai’s murder is framed by a priest and woodcutter waiting out a storm at the Rashomon gates, who are joined by a grotesque wigmaker who lives among the corpses by the gate, stealing hair off the bodies. She then prods the men into telling their experience being called to testify in court.

Sarah Beck portrayed the Samurai’s wife as traumatized, manipulative, and manic in varying versions of the story, with a natural physicality and an impressive bird call. Likewise, Liam Finn’s energy and variation in portraying Tajumaru was admirable. Monica Quintiliani provided comic relief and intrigue as the Wigmaker, her dramatic limp and maniacal expressions giving a boisterous energy to the darker nature of the show. Zach Newby provided an understated performance as the Husband, however his narration scene and death were very moving.

Though some performances seemed inconsistent, the show remained energized and engaging. The traditional dancing performed by the Medium and her Apprentices (Shoshi Massarik, Ava Chafin, and Sullen Kaufman) to bring the husband to life was skilled, synchronized and engaging.

The ancient Japanese setting was vivid and the show was visually stunning, with a minimalist set, skillful use of silhouette and perfectly cued, appropriate lighting. The sound of rain was present in every scene with the Priest and woodcutter, but never overwhelming. The testifying narrators were in the aisles of the stage, speaking to the audience as though they were the jury, and the costuming and make-up was stunning, particularly noting the decaying corpses at the steps of the Rashomon, the legs and filth of the woodmaker, and the scar across Tajumaru’s face.

Rashomon is a thought-provoking, carefully composed evaluation of truth’s place among good and evil, a difficult theme that Lake Braddock Secondary School undertook with vigor.

by Mary Holmcrans of Albert Einstein High School

Photo Gallery

Back row: Zach Newby. Front row: Sulleen Kauffman, Shoshana Massarik and Ava Chafin Ally Savage, Monica Quintilaini (center) and Melissa Pampel
Back row: Zach Newby. Front row: Sulleen Kauffman, Shoshana Massarik and Ava Chafin
Ally Savage, Monica Quintilaini (center) and Melissa Pampel
Sarah Beck Back to camera: Zach Newby. Face to camera: Liam Finn
Sarah Beck
Back to camera: Zach Newby. Face to camera: Liam Finn
Tristan Pham
Tristan Pham

Photos by David Massarik

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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.

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