Saline High School Drama Club presents moving take on 'The Giver'
This is part of an ongoing series of theater reviews of local high school productions, written by high school students, that will appear on AnnArbor.com. This week, Huron High School's Ashley Weigel (see bio at end of story) reviews Saline High School's production of "The Giver," which ran this past weekend.
Often, when a classic book is turned into a movie or theatre production, people are skeptical of the outcome. But the Saline High School Drama Club did a fantastic job bringing "The Giver" to life on stage.
Written by Lois Lowry, "The Giver" is a novel about a futuristic society where there is no color, no individualism, and no real freedom. The story follows the journey of Jonas, a young boy who is living in this society. As the story goes on, it becomes apparent that Jonas is different than the people around him.
When the time comes for Jonas and his classmates to get assigned their job and place in society, he is given the most exclusive and mysterious career; Receiver. Jonas thus becomes the apprentice of the Giver. The Giver is the only person in the world who holds all the memories of how the world used to be; from family, color, and birthday parties, to pain, loss, and warfare. It becomes Jonas’ job to receive and retain all the memories the Giver passes on to him.
This was an incredibly emotional play. The acting was very well done, especially by freshman Adrienne Johnson, in her role as Jonas. Her emotional and exuberant performance shone throughout the show, and she was impressive acting in a male role. For the most part, the rest of the cast was also very strong, moving many of the people in the audience to tears on Friday night (including myself). There were a few moments when it felt like the emotion was lost from some of the actors, but it was recovered quickly and didn’t take away from the performance.
Additionally, the set was very well done, and was different than any set I have ever seen before. The screen and projected images were especially surprising and unique, adding to the show a new understanding of what it’s like to see and experience life, rather than just living. The changing colors in the Giver’s room were an amazing surprise as well, which I would attribute to the running crew (which was also completely silent and unnoticeable, which made the set changes fun and unexpected). Ann O’Harris, advisor and producer of the Saline High School Drama Club, did a wonderful job with the set design.
Overall this show was great. Director Tori Tomalia and the cast and crew of "The Giver" should be proud of the performance they put on. I’m looking forward to seeing their production of "West Side Story" in February.
Ashley Weigel is a senior at Huron High School who plays softball, writes for The Emery, and is involved in Huron Players. She's hoping to major in journalism next year at Michigan State.
The aim of AnnArbor.com's student-review program is to recognize, and provide more coverage for, the accomplished theatrical work that's happening in our schools while also providing opportunities for student writers with an interest in arts criticism. To encourage objectivity, our student writers will always review shows from schools other than their own. To learn more about the student-review program, contact Jenn McKee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2546.