‘Rumors’ gets them talking in Arlington

ARLINGTON — Gunshots, secrets and overblown reactions made for an evening of fun as the Arlington High School Drama Department wrapped up its run on Neil Simon’s “Rumors.”

More than one parent commented upon how well the student actors captured the rhythms of middle-aged urbanites in the comedy play’s ultimate showing on April 30.

“I’m always impressed by the high caliber of effort that they put into it,” said Annette Braaten, mother of Nate Braaten, one of two actors to play Officer Welch. “The kids do the dialects so well, even though they’re so different from their own accents. More than a few of them have never even been to New York at all.”

Even though her son Andrew wasn’t playing Glenn Cooper that night, Linda Clark still came out to support the rest of the cast.

“I never expected it to be as grand as it is,” Clark said. “It’s been quite the production.”

Just shy of a dozen cast members spent four nights of performances slamming doors, gossiping in small circles, and racing up and down the staircase of the specially made two-story set. Unlike the upset, yelling characters they’ve played, the actors expressed fondness for one another and enjoyment over their time together, but one thing they do have in common with their characters is how spontaneous their reactions have been to each night’s events.

“We pretty much went by the original script, except for some words we couldn’t say,” laughed senior Caroline Rensel, who played Chris Gorman. “You do different things each time, though, so you don’t get bored.”

“So much of this play isn’t in the dialogue, but in the reactions,” said junior Josh Kenworthy, who played Ernie Cusack. “The challenge is to keep it fresh.”

“We’ve been doing plays together for years,” said junior Makayla Markenzinis, who played Cassie Cooper. “We’re like a family by now.”

“A dysfunctional family,” Kenworthy laughed.

At the same time, the upperclassmen in the cast praised not only freshman actors such as Grace McWatters, who played Officer Pudney, but also the number of understudies whom they characterized as mature in their commitment to learning the script and the blocking.

“We always hope people laugh, but it’s nice to see students in the audience as well,” Rensel said. “Usually we haven’t had this many, so that’s kind of our Holy Grail,” she laughed.

With seniors such as Rensel graduating this year and much of the rest of the cast made up of juniors, the AHS Drama Department is already seeing the need to refresh its ranks.

“Drama doesn’t depend on what class or year you’re in,” Rensel said.

“A small part of me is still surprised by how much I feel like a part of this,” McWatters said.

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