Dougherty accentuates “Clue” through actors’ individuality

Boomika Velineni and Nayja Shah

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  • Students in the DVHS theater class pose for a picture during their rehearsal.

  • Theater teacher, Noah Kopp, explains the agenda of the class while students get settled in.

  • Theater students work together to plan clothing and set designs for the upcoming play, during class.

  • In preparation for the upcoming play, theater students circle together to memorize and act out parts of their script.

  • The classroom is a safe and comfortable place for students to share their ideas with one another.

  • Two students from the Orange Cast rehearse their lines for the upcoming production of “Clue.”

  • The Black Cast also rehearse their lines together, positioning themselves as needed.

  • Students socialize in back of the classroom, readying themselves before their line reading.

  • Students practice their lines in the hallway, taking great care to memorize them and build up connections.

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From Oct. 28-30, theater students at DVHS performed the play “Clue” — based on the 1985 movie — enrapturing the audience with their comedic lines and stimulating mystery.

The play “Clue” is a political thriller condensed into a comedy. Inspired by the board game, which was later adapted into a movie, the play revolves around the 1950s political sphere of being a “proper” American citizen. Six guests are invited to a party by the mysterious host, Mx. Boddy. Each character is given an alias: Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, Mr. Green, Ms. Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. White. These characters soon realize that the party is not so simple as the house staff begins to be murdered one-by-one. Soon the party turns into a witch-hunt and in solving the puzzle, more questions arise. 

While preparing for this play, Theater Arts teacher Noah Kopp made the creative decision to produce two different versions of the play with two different casts, in order to arrange for each theater student to be involved with the production in some form. The casts were paired based on the chemistry they had with one another, and their behind-the-scenes friendships shined through many of the jokes they’d made. 

Both casts interpreted the characters in their own style, shining a personal light on an overarching theme. Through these personalized interpretations, the audience was able to experience the play through different eyes and thus enjoy a more lively performance.

The actors’ interpretations paired with their comical impromptu performances created a very intriguing production. 

Orange Cast

The Orange Cast stuck more to the script, and their defining feature was their ability to handle different accents. These were most notable in senior Mariam Yar (Wadsworth) and freshman Dhruv Govindarao (Mr. Green).

“A memorable moment from the play was when Dhruv as Mr. Green managed to affect a shy, nervous and high-pitched voice for most of the play until he revealed his secret identity as Larry Goodman of the FBI and lowered his voice several octaves as he pulled out his gun,” Kopp said.

Govindarao’s sudden voice shift was a thrill for the audience, and there had been spontaneous applause. “I was very proud of him and the whole cast in that moment,” Kopp said.

Black Cast

The Black Cast did a great job interpreting the characters in their own style, their performance was on-point and without having known they were improvised, all of the off-the-cuff jokes passed as professional. 

Their cast had more improv-driven actors including senior V Wong (Mrs. Peacock) and junior Anjali Nair (Professor Plum). Wong’s drunken, dramatic acting stole most of the audience’s hearts, while Nair’s flirty, playboy-esque performance was a source of much laughter.

Ms. Scarlet’s intimidating and femme fatale character was well carried out by junior Julia M’Kai Sayyid. She, along with the rest of the cast, added to the excitement of the original script with witty jokes and humorous acting.

There were also many more notable differences between how the actors played their characters. While Govindarao’s Mr. Green had been meek and non-confrontational, freshman Aditya Unni’s Mr. Green was a lot freer and would whack his fellow castmates with the letter in his hand if they made any weird remarks. 

Overall Performance

Both renditions of “Clue” certainly captured the audience’s attention and had many elements which set them apart. 

Despite having a few glitches with the sound system, such as it being too loud during the Black Cast’s performance or a few times when the actors broke character, they still did a phenomenal job with what they were given and certainly made it a night to remember.

We can’t wait for the spring musical which the drama department is sure to make spectacular.

“While the play was fun and challenging, putting up a musical is like building a boat,” Kopp said. “We were a bit cramped with Boddy Manor and I hope to execute a more expansive look with the staging of the musical.”