RENT: A Review
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On the evening of the event, lines of latecomers rushed in to grab their seats before the curtain went up. As the lights descended and the curtain opened, we were impressed by the exquisite scenery exhibited despite it only being a high school production. It was our first time at a school play, and it was definitely starting off on a good note.
“[This is like] Broadway ,” a woman in front of us voiced. “Rent” has been the school’s most hyped and anticipated event since the beginning of the year. The auditorium was almost full on Friday night as the lights got dimmer and the audience became silent.
As the music started playing from a professional band, which gave a stellar performance, the actors entered the stage from behind. The energy and smiles that all the actors gave was ineffable. The way everyone danced in an exuberant manner as well as their facial expressions showed that this was something they deeply enjoyed. It felt like they hoped for us to achieve the same feeling.
However, as the show progressed, the voices of the actors became more of a murmur overshadowed by the boisterous music escaping the speakers. Nonetheless, they greatly resembled a broadway musical when we could hear the singing. The actors perfectly harmonized in smooth high and low pitches. Their voices in no way hindered our experience because each actors’ sophisticated yet convincing emotional appeal was enough to make up for the inconvenience.
This production included many distinct characters, allowing for the audience to connect with at least one of them. First off, there was Mark, a documentary filmmaker, and then Roger, a struggling musician. Along them was Maureen the ex-girlfriend of Mark who had fallen in love with Joanne. For Roger there was Mimi, a stripper that had previously been romantically involved with Benny, the landlord of the apartment. Within this fight for lower rent the musical touched upon issues like HIV and drug addiction.
The performances that caught our eyes immediately were those of Maureen, Angel, and Joanne. Angel’s appearance in her Santa Claus dress and high heel boots completely won over the crowd. Her use of the drumsticks against the table and her ability to jump on the table with heels was astonishing. Her scenes helped to add humor to a musical centered around a fight for survival in the gritty streets of New York.
Some scenes that may be considered clichéd were executed perfectly. Maureen did not hide or conceal her true feelings for her girlfriend, Joanne. Their romance dominated the second half of the show and the actors sang their love for each other from their souls. Each word spoken was filled with energy and touched people’s hearts. We felt the pain, misery, and happiness due to how well the students showed it. This play definitely was well rehearsed and did not let us down.
by Kiana Williams and Esther Chai