Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Wakefield High School Dearly Departed

By • Nov 17th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

If you see fervent Southern Baptists, crazy reverends, dysfunctional families, and laugh out loud situations, you just might be watching Dearly Departed, a play recently performed by Wakefield High School.

Dearly Departed, written by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, was written in the early 90’s. The story follows the dysfunctional Turpin family through a trying period when their father dies. This is a sweet story about sticking it out as a family. Dearly Departed has rightly won six Drama Logue Awards including Best Production and Best Playwriting.

The Wakefield cast of Dearly Departed was extremely diverse in talent. The majority of the cast and crew were very committed to their roles in the production, and they made great transition from funny scenes to the more solemn scenes, making the play a treat to watch.

This play was unique in that it had no obvious leads, but plenty of important characters. One of these characters was the zealous Baptist churchgoer Marguerite, played by Loreal Watts. Watts portrayed her character with conviction, making small mistakes like her wig slipping barely noticeable. Her energy was great, and she commanded the stage and made it hard not to watch her. Another strong character was played by Mark Tanner as Ray-Bud. Tanner kept up a wonderfully twangy accent through the entire production, and had palpable connections with the others on the stage.

Some of the most pleasing characters in Dearly Departed were the featured cast. Each member of the “Joy of Life Singers” (Lintle Motsoasele, Marquis Allgood, Dylan Everett, Sheila McCloskey) ensemble delighted in their short appearances on the stage. All of the players in this ensemble were extremely committed to their character. If anything went wrong onstage, whether it be a prop mishap or missed entrance, they responded in character, never seeming to stop for a moment of confusion or panic.

Most of the technical aspects of this show were excellent. The set was not particularly impressive; however, it was versatile, serving as different settings, such as a church, home, et cetera. The crew appeared to be on cue, although the blackouts were long enough to detract the energy from the play each time they happened. The lighting was spectacular. Yosselin Claros did a superb job of designing the lighting. Each lighting choice noticeably helped the mood of the scene. Claros made such lighting feats as a soft moonlight to help with the passing of time, and a beam of light from the heavens at the closing funeral. Each lighting cue was on time and concise, making for an impressive technical aspect.

Dearly Departed appears to be a fairly difficult play, but Wakefield rose to the challenge, giving their audience an enjoyable two hours.

by Kaylee Shuey of H-B Woodlawn

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