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Cappies: Parkway Central hits high notes with 'The Diviners'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 5, 2012 - “Let not thy divining heart Forethink me any ill; Destiny may take thy part, And may thy fears fulfill.” -- John Donne

Telling the tale, of a tragedy in its own right, but a bigger-picture story of true friendship and self-discovery, Parkway Central High School’s production of “The Diviners” let audiences into the hearts of each and every one of the characters they embodied.

“The Diviners,” written by Jim Leonard Jr., takes place in the fictional town of Zion, Ind., in the 1930s. In the time of the Dust Bowl, a boy, Buddy Layman is divining for water for his family and other members in his town. A former preacher (C.C.) arrives, befriends Buddy, and gives Zion hope for not only Buddy but for their future as well. Buddy and C.C. become good friends and help each other grow and find meaning in things they might not have found on their own.

You couldn’t ignore the incredible talent and chemistry of Tim Whyman and Alex Tash. Whyman played the difficult role of Buddy Layman and played it with ease. With his consistency and loveable portrayal, all eyes were on him. Tash played the witty and sarcastic role of C.C. Showers. He too had consistency with not only his character, but his accent. When the two men were together on stage however, their chemistry was unforgettable. Their line delivery was fluent and neither ever missed a beat.

A character that kept audiences intrigued was Dewey Maples. Dewey, played by Jake Blonstein, was the comic relief. He was absolutely hilarious and so was his accent. Dewey’s pal Melvin Wilder (Austin Sellinger) was also a nice addition to the show. Blonstein and Sellinger energized each other’s performance and worked well together.

The technical aspects of this show deserve a round of applause. From the subtle yet mood-setting lighting (Nick Bible), to the simple but powerful set (Matt Forbis), every decision had a purpose and impact on the overall performance and look. The scenes that involved the water were very interesting because of the lighting designed for it. A part in the show that stood out was the drowning scene. The choices for that scene were fantastic, and the lighting and sound effects made it very realistic and well done. It was without a doubt a shining moment for the technical crews.

Although the show hardly had any slip-ups, a few of the actors lacked the accent that the others had formed. Along with that, sometimes their accents would fluctuate and the dialogue wasn’t clearly understood. The actors with the stronger accents, however, recovered for those who might not have achieved theirs to the best of their ability, and kept the dialogue moving smoothly. Those minute observations in no way changed my opinion about the overall show. The actors took on their roles truthfully and with heart.

“The Diviners” tackles many dramatic scenarios, and with the added humorous moments, the show truly comes together. The characters in  warm your heart, and you feel a connection and bond with them. If you want to see a play that shows a true meaning of love and self-discovery, then don’t miss out on the opportunity to see “The Diviners” at Parkway Central High School!

Paige Woodley is a student at Marquette High School. The Cappies program works with student writes who review student theatrical productions.

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