Theater Students Artfully Portray ‘The Coloring Book’

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  • Sophomores Mason Fruge and Clarissa Garcia discuss the situation of the Coloring Book.

  • Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi ’20 and Iliana Sharp ’21 embrace during the show.

  • Lauren Imm ’21 sits and thinks about the happenings during the play.

  • Mason Fruge ’21 sighs in frustration during the show.

  • Emilia Adcock ’21 poses as the rest of the cast grumbles at her.

  • Emilia Adcock ’21 and Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi ’20 engage in an argument.

  • The cast claps at the end of the performance.

  • Sophomores Emma Goolsbey and Lucy Wang embrace each other during the performance.

    Photo courtesy of Lucy Wang '21
  • Sophomores Emma Goolsbey and Eileigh Whyte argue with each other during the performance.

    Photo courtesy of Lucy Wang '21
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Performed by the Theater Department, students presented an adaptation of Bradley Walton’s The Coloring Book that had the adept ability to avidly entertain and teach the minds of young children about the wrongs of racism and caste systems in today’s society. The show was directed by Ms. Lydia Coats, who was assisted by Nadia Smothers ‘20 and Francesca Faillace ‘20, and showed at the Raymond E. Hartfield Performing Arts Center on Monday, Nov. 12, and Tuesday, Nov. 13. Additionally, to ensure that everyone was allowed the chance to star in this piece, the cast was split into two casts, the Zoo cast, and the Farm cast.

“In the past, I’ve performed in more dramatic and realistic shows, but this was a children’s show so the style, mannerisms, and characterization were so important,” Clarissa Garcia ‘21, who played Betty the cow, said. “Little kids can believe anything, so it makes it harder for us to break out of reality and act in a dramatic fantasy world of animals.”

The Farm cast’s performance entailed the tale of a coloring book, and the many different characters living among it such as the Words, played by Mason Fruge ’21 (Farm cast) and Eva Kalakanis ‘21 (Zoo cast), Arthur the monkey, depicted by Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi ‘20 (Farm cast) and Emma Goolsbey ‘21 (Zoo cast), and Jacques the pig, portrayed by Emilia Adcock ‘21 (Farm cast) and Elena Van Metre ‘21 (Zoo cast). The show began with the characters adorned in all white, signifying the importance of being colored. Soon, the book begins to be colored in by a girl and a boy, and while they both do an amazing job at coloring, the characters develop a liking towards the girl’s more sophisticated, smooth coloring, than the boy’s more messy, creative coloring.

This soon creates a rift among the characters, where Arthur, colored by the boy, finds himself excluded and ignored by those skillfully colored by the girl, symbolizing the division between caste systems in the modern world. Luckily, the characters soon realize the immorality of the situation and slowly begin to accept one another, successfully mending the torn relationships between the characters.

“The play was meant to teach kids not to judge someone based solely on their outward appearance,” Mehrabani-Farsi said. “Things can happen to a person that changes how they look, but it’s important to understand at a young age that a lot of people can’t choose how they look, so you shouldn’t judge them based on that.”

The show was also adorned with carefully crafted backdrops and costumes, that fitted accordingly to the performance, thanks to Ms. Milam’s Technical Theater students, and Mrs. Coats’ Costume students. Their diligent work was shown through the steady appearance of color in trees and bushes, compared to the beginning of the play when they were plain white, effectively showing the progress of the children’s coloring throughout the performance.

“My favorite part about performing in the play was how we got to grow together as a class and get to know and love each other more,” Lauren Imm ‘21, who played Neve the rabbit, said. “We had so much fun on stage performing together, and we’re closer than ever to each other now.” 

Catch the next theater production, Legally Blonde the Musical, at the Raymond E. Hartfield Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Jan. 31, Friday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 2 in 2019.