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Stella A Griffin

 Theater Educator/ Director

 

 

 

 Brethren Christian

Junior & Senior High School, located in southeast Huntington Beach, CA.,

has provided academically

excellent, Christ-centered

education for 60 years.

Visit us at www.bchs.net

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Reviews:

Cindy Kok
Submitted for publication to Orange County Register 1
Sunday, December 14, 2008


THE CURIOUS SAVAGE
Brethren Christian's "Savage" surprisingly touching and insightful

by CINDY KOK
FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Cindy Kok is a senior at Irvine High School in Irvine.

Insanity can be relative. Brethren Christian High School’s “The Curious Savage,” a classic comedy by John Patrick, backs the truth of this statement. Setting up a sharp contrast between friendly sanitarium inmates and money-grubbing high-society people, Patrick leaves audiences questioning who the truly insane are.

This heart-warming tale tells the story of Ethel Savage, an unconventional, wealthy widow, whose estranged stepchildren try to institutionalize her in the Cloisters when she chooses to create a charity fund rather than leave them her money. In the Cloisters, she meets several social misfits, who—although eccentric—immediately befriend her. With their help, Mrs. Savage manages to get the best of her materialistic children and finally live life on her own terms.

Tivoli Hudson adeptly leads as the titular Ethel Savage, uniting the ensembles of the greedy Savage family and the quirky Cloisters guests. Never faltering from her comical accent, Hudson finds a balance between flippancy and seriousness, expertly characterizing the acerbic yet vulnerable Mrs. Savage.

Mrs. Savage’s brief stay changed the Cloisters guests, but they also changed her. Patrick Quinn tackles one of the more serious roles in this play, Jeffery, a psychologically-scarred veteran, with consistency and dedication. Also, Katharyn Stong skillfully makes Fairy May’s idiosyncrasies endearing, delivering droll lines with precise timing and diction. From the compassionate Florence, Hannibal, Fairy May and Jeffery, Mrs. Savage finds immediate love and acceptance.

The loyal Cloisters guests protect Mrs. Savage from her children, the pompous senator Titus (Kasey Norton), the gold-digging socialite Lily Belle (Hailey Harrington), and the clueless judge Samuel (Zachary Hinkley). With a fittingly high-pitched New York accent, Harrington portrays her character as an obnoxious spoiled heiress who easily strong-arms her brothers into following her will.

Although some actors struggled with fully developing their characters and others with enunciation, the cast nonetheless succeeds in conveying the story’s theme of kindness with humor and wit. With high energy, the actors kept up the humorous tone of the story with improvisation and well-timed delivery, but also managed to communicate the serious moments.

Providing a backdrop to the play, the multi-talented Shawn Southard creates a well-designed set that allows actors to use the stage effectively. The stage crew kept the show running effectively through inconspicuous and immediate scene changes. Well-directed lighting and smooth transitions contributed to a poignant final scene.

Surprisingly touching and insightful, Brethren Christian High School’s production of “The Curious Savage” provides an entertaining, memorable theater experience.


Katie Wright
Lutheran HS of OC

Submitted for publication to Orange County Register 2

THE CURIOUS SAVAGE
Brethren Christian gives a strong, enthusiastic, performance

by KATIE WRIGHT
FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Katie Wright is a senior at Lutheran High School of Orange County in Orange.

Mental patients, teddy bears, and a kooky old broad combine for raucous laughs and melancholy sweetness in Brethren Christian’s productions of the vintage play, The Curious Savage. The play is a post-war comedy about a quirky widow, Ethel Savage. Hilarity heartwarmingly ensues when Ethel’s greedy stepchildren have her committed, only to realize she has hidden the family fortune.

Tivoli Hudson headed up the cast as the eccentric Mrs. Savage, bringing a laugh-out-loud comic timing and an extraordinary commitment and depth to the role. She truly shone as an incredibly gifted actress; able to perform with much emotion and humor, and on-the-ball enough to keep the audience laughing even through set malfunctions. Obvious statement though it may be, the leading lady truly stole the show.

Katharyn Stong played Fairy May, the silly, talkative dreamer who lives in the institution with Mrs. Savage. Stong hits the whimsical character right on, playing her over-the-top but utilizing clear and natural diction where others were harder to hear. Patrick Quinn played another patient, a delusional war vet Jeffrey. Quinn is bittersweet, building his character carefully and showing great commitment to his complicated role.

Montgomery Shaw brings laughs as the offbeat Hannibal; committing to his comical “schtick,” but never letting it detract from the storyline. Taylor Lardas also brings a burst of humor the show as the ranting Mrs. Paddy.

The technical aspects of the show contributed incredibly to the performance, an admirable job for the stage, set, lighting, and sound crew. The lighting was very simplistic but lent itself well to the set, making it easy to differentiate the time of day or tone of the scene and portraying it in a very creative manner.

Overall, Brethren Christian gives a strong, enthusiastic, performance with creative, committed acting and a carefully and well-planned set.


Melissa Glasgow
Lutheran HS of OC

Submitted for publication to OC Register Alternate

An insane asylum is not the first place people would look for entertainment, laughter, and friendship. However, at The Cloisters in Brethren Christian’s performance of “The Curious Savage,” audiences find just that.

The story follows the life of Ethel Savage, who has been admitted to an asylum by her greedy stepchildren. Ethel, who is obviously not insane, is sent on a whirlwind journey where she discovers much about herself from the guests at The Cloisters.

Ethel Savage (Tivoli Hudson) lights up the stage with her commanding presence. Her commitment to her character shows talent beyond her years. She is also very consistent in her performance, most notably shown through her accent, and has remarkable comedic timing that keeps the audience entertained whenever she steps onstage.
The guests at The Cloisters have great chemistry in all of their group scenes. They all do a wonderful job building their characters, and display a unity that is endearing to the audience. While at times the actors break character and stumble over lines, their small family works together very well, and make the show especially touching. Jeffery (Patrick Quinn) stays in character exceptionally well, as he has to keep his hand on his face almost every time he is onstage. The development of his character is strong and he is very natural on stage. Another standout Cloister guest is Fairy May (Katharyn Stong), who is a joy to watch onstage.

The Savage family (KC Norton, Zachary Hinkley, and Hailey Harrington) play the perfect antagonists in the play.

The play’s lighting, set, and sound set the mood for the show and allow for smooth transitions in the play. The technicians faced many obstacles, such as lights suddenly turning on and off, and they handled them skillfully. The music during the show also sets the time period and ambiance that the show projected.

Brethren Christian’s comedic play, “The Curious Savages,” does not only leave audiences rolling with laughter, but tells a beautiful message that is well executed by the cast.