The lights dim, plunging everything into darkness. There is no sound but for the gentle rustle of the curtains on the stage. Everyone is poised, waiting. Suddenly, the curtain rises on a back alley full of trash and one singular girl.
Hopatcong High School’s Drama Club performed not one, but two plays this year for their fall performance, The Little Match Girl and Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. The prior showcased the rather exemplary acting chops of its two leads through the story of a homeless girl named Dodge (Kelly Nee) and a fledgling runaway boy named James (Fernando Leyva).
Though the cast was small, there was no lack of emotion onstage. Kelly gave several powerful soliloquies as her character attempted to rationalize why someone would ever choose to live as she did, alone and with precious little to call her own. Fernando also gave a memorable performance. Even when his character did not speak, his presence on stage only enhanced the depth of emotions.
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp was quite the opposite.
Here, the servants of a king are commissioned to perform something entertaining for his viewing pleasure. The Storyteller (Abby Decker) decides to narrate the story of Aladdin.
Aladdin boasted a large cast comprised of over a dozen actors on the stage at any point. The ensemble, as a whole, worked like a machine, with all parts being integral to the atmosphere portrayed. Aladdin (Dominic Solimando) and the Genie (AJ Amella) both were driving forces throughout the performance as their commitment to their roles kept the play from ever experiencing a dull moment.
There were also unique aspects to the play that made it quite interesting. All costume changes, for instance, took place on stage rather than in the wings and the eye shadow of most of the actors matched the vibrant colors of their pants.
Attendance was average though opening night in particular was nearly devoid of students. The Saturday performance was also cancelled due to bad weather, cutting the run from four days to three.
Despite this, HHS Drama Club pulled off a rewarding show that proved just how talented the organization is.