No family dinner could be this weird

On October 23-25, the DVHS Drama Program successfully produced a family get-together that no one will forget anytime soon.

“In-Laws, Outlaws and Other People (That Should Be Shot)” offered an interesting set of events, following a dysfunctional family on Christmas Eve.

Typical teenage brat Beth (Megan Olivera) and dad Tom (Jake Ottley) were already at odds from the start, but as strange family members started streaming into the house, featuring the red neck couple Bunny (Kaylie Haas) and Bud (Nathan Tandowsky), their 4.15 GPA daughter Tracy (Devyn Diolazo), as well as old Aunt Rose (Kelsey Villareal) and Uncle Leo (Jun Yu), it didn’t seem like things could get any worse. Until, of course, two robbers by the names of Tony (Ryan Chiu) and Vinny (Dillon Aurelio-Perata) decided to barge in on their little “bonding moment” for a while until the policemen looking for them left the area. It became obvious that these robbers were clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time, and as they were forced to take in hostages, including the irritating neighbor Mrs. Draper (Annie Wang) and the equally-as-strange Wakowski family of Mrs. Wakowski (Natalia Khoudian), Paul (Ryan Chan) and Emily (Marie Bast).  Tony and Vinny eventually started to wonder if they were in charge of the hostage situation, or if it was actually the insane family inhabiting the house that held the control.

But all’s well that ends well, and the true moral of the play became clear as both sides gradually became more accepting of each other. Vinny, the goofy sidekick to tough Tony, was innocent and lovable, and easily warmed up the hearts of the hostages (as well as the audience). He revealed that Tony was actually a nice man, despite his angry and tough exterior; as a “less than average working-man from the Bronx”, Tony had robbed the store so he could buy a nice present for his three-year-old and five-year-old kids.

When the family found out, they covered for the robbers when Officer Henley (Taylor Dufrane) stopped by, and Beth’s mom Janet (Katie Stroud) also offered their own presents to the two robbers to take home instead.

A fun-filled, laugh-out-loud tale of quite the bizarre Christmas Eve, the play was equally enjoyed by cast members and the audience alike.

Sophomore Collin Dufrane thought the show had tons of flair, picking up pace as more characters were introduced — but the robbers were the ones who really stood out.

“[The robbers] made the play funny,” Collin Dufrane said. “At intermission, I felt a little disappointed because I wanted the show to continue.”

A favorite scene of his, and the audience’s, was the “We’re Jewish!” segment, in which Beth yells the phrase out the window in order to make the carolers outside (Francis Arroyo, Robin Fu, Jacob Laubach, Lucy Li, Jaiden McCrann, Vidisha Rai, Alexa Richmeier, Saanya Sardana and Chaitanya Sharma) leave — despite the fact that they were anything but.

The overall performance of the cast was clearly outstanding after hours of rehearsals and hard work. Every member of the drama production, including the tech crew, had prepared for the show for two long months. But, in turn, the play produced amazing feedback.

“At first the cast was a bit straightforward in their roles,” said Paul Vega, Drama Director at DVHS. “But then they really started to understand the quirkiness and uniqueness of each of the different characters, and gradually immersed themselves and took on that role.”

Many audience members over all three nights commented that they loved the comedy from the entire cast and appreciated the relatable factors that they noticed during their own family dinners (although hopefully their dinners aren’t as wacky as this one was). With the constant uproar of laughter arising from the crowd, it was obvious that the audience was captivated by the lively and entertaining performances of Chiu (Tony) and Aurelio-Perata (Vinny) as the two robbers. In fact, Vega believes that they “stole the show”.

Both Aurelio-Perata and Taylor Dufrane agreed that this play was definitely the most stress-free show they have worked on so far.

“Everything went according to plan; here and there, there were a few minor bumps, but in the end everything came out smoothly,” Taylor Dufrane said.

According to Vega, actual food, such as the ham and bread rolls, weren’t used for rehearsal dinner scenes because the Drama Program is on a budget; only during the actual play was there real food, and this caused minor unexpected delays.

“[During the actual play,] the ham took longer to cut than was expected, but the cast improvised it really well and got through it,” Vega said.

Vega was pleased with each performance and proud of what the cast achieved. On October 24, before the second night of the show, he gathered the cast as they were preparing backstage and gave a short speech of encouragement.

“It got off to a rough start on opening night; the adrenaline was probably pumping and lines were too fast,” he told the members. “I know this is because of the larger crowd than usual for opening nights, but control the adrenaline even if it’s more stressful because of the larger audience. If there is a small crowd, don’t let that discourage you. Deliver a performance that they paid to see to the best of your ability, because the job isn’t done. Not until Sunday when we strike the set, and this place is spotless. Until then, go out there, entertain them, have fun, stay focused and do what you learned to do in these past two months.”

With that said, the motivated and prepared drama production members formed a tight circle, placed their hands in the center, and began to chant: “To the last scene, to the last show, we act! We act! We act!”

The performance of “In-Laws, Outlaws and Other People (That Should Be Shot)” was the perfect humorous, heartwarming comedy to kick off the series of spectacular plays and musicals the DVHS Drama Program is bound to produce this year.

The next stellar performance comes in the form of a musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, playing from February 19 to February 22, 2015.