Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Don’t Count on Forever

By • May 2nd, 2013 • Category: Cappies

Caught between two worlds that could NOT be more different from one another, Lisa struggles through her senior year of high school with a high head on her shoulders and an unrelenting drive to finishing. She is transitioning into a new life, one where home is not necessarily where her parents live, and a past isn’t made of just positive memories. In a heart-warming rendition of Nancy Gilsenan’s Don’t Count on Forever last week, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology drove the audience back to the times of “Pretty in Pink” and “The Breakfast Club”: the classic 1980s.

Don’t Count on Forever takes place in three settings: a small suburban home, a modest apartment, and a hyperactive yearbook office. Gilsenan, a relatively unknown playwright who has published 18 stage plays, many of which are geared towards high school audiences but also leave them with lessons that resonate with audiences of all ages. In Lisa’s case, those lessons include keeping the good and the bad memories, and moving forward with high hopes.

The cast’s energy and pacing kept this production from being too tawdry and melodramatic. While a few characters fell flat, most characters were laugh-out-loud funny and had great chemistry with one another, making it all the more believable. While the theme is 1980s, it does not fall into the neon leg warmers death trap commonly seen in tv shows like “The Carrie Diaries” (2013). Thankfully, the 1980s theme is subtly reflected in furniture, music, and realistic clothing, much more similar to the likeness of John Hughes.

Emily Kelly (Lisa) carries the show with her high energy and strong characterization. She has good chemistry with her fellow actors, and is charming and dynamic, developing Lisa from a confident, star-reaching student to a falling apart, barely put together teenager just trying to get through the day. Kelly’s best scenes are with Jordan Goodson (mother, Joan) and with Gavin Moore (boyfriend, Teddy).

Goodson’s character development is certainly her standout, believably conveying Joan’s transitions in both life and mentality. She is endearingly poised and animated onstage and captures the heart of the audience with her resilient efforts to endure life’s struggles. Moore is frankly just adorably awkward, having many “awww” moments with both Kelly and Goodson.

Hair and makeup was effective and reflected character traits personalized to each actor. The lighting and sound were adequate as well, with no largely noticeable errors. The fast pacing of the show can be attributed to incredibly fast scene transitions. Costumes were sufficient in conveying characterization, time period, and progression. The props were all detailed and worked well with the theme of the show, which was impressive due to the large number of them. Overall, tech was above-average for a high school show.

As the show closes, Simple Mind’s 1985 classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” plays through the speakers and the cast bows. The audience rises, now back in present time, and leaves in high spirits over the positive conclusion of the play. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology performed with inspiriting energy.

by Robyn Smith of W. T. Woodson HS

Photo Gallery

Emily Kelly Gavin Moore, Emily Kelly
Emily Kelly
Gavin Moore, Emily Kelly
Gavin Moore, Emily Kelly, Zach Moser Emily Kelly
Gavin Moore, Emily Kelly, Zach Moser
Emily Kelly

Photos by Yena Seo

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