Winter play chills expectations


Hailey Hecht-O'Connor, Editor

Eisenhower’s drama department ran their production of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday from Jan. 24-26 in the Performing Arts Center.

The play was pushed back to January rather than its normal late November-early December date due to the director, Ms. Sarina Kledzik, being out for maternity leave. Her being out on leave also influenced the choice of the seven-man play itself.

Gillian follows the story of David Lewis (Marco Martinez), a grieving father who struggles to get over the violent maritime death of his wife, Gillian (Amaranta Garcia). David’s teenage daughter, Rachel (Sara Martin), suffers emotionally due to her father’s neglect, and reaches out to her Aunt Esther (Lori Ritos) during her and her husband’s visit on the two year anniversary of Gillian’s death.

If audience members were expecting a theatrical classic similar to last year’s play, The Christmas Carol, they were mistaken.

Gillian is a melancholic, dialogue-heavy play in contrast to Christmas Carol’s more family-friendly approach. Take a bathroom break and you just might miss a crucial plot detail or character moment.

The somber tone and themes of loss and a family tearing apart didn’t seem to clash well with the teen audience it was performed for.  The crowd was quiet and uneasy during tense, emotional moments.

However, considering the small size of the cast and the sheer amount of lines they had to memorize, the actors in Gillian did fantastic job. Their performances were amazingly emotional, heart-wrenchingly so. Rito’s portrayal of Aunt Esther was by far the best – carrying many of the scenes she was in with her raw acting talent.

“Friday’s performance was the greatest of all the shows,” explains Ritos, “Everyone was moved to tears.”

The drama department’s next major production will be the spring musical – Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat.