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Hilarious take on trials & tribulations of attending high school on EU stage

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POSTED November 16, 2012 1:19 a.m.

High school doesn’t have to be that hard.

Sure there’s the small matter of math, science, English, any one of a number of foreign language classes as well as the dreaded physical education.

But as anybody who saw East Union High School’s Playbox Theater’s Presentation of “How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying” Thursday night can attest, there are all sorts of ways that one can cut corners to make the four years fly by.

Unbeknownst to me the best way to do it is to change your name to “what” so that technically you check-in to all your classes when teachers take attendance. No more tardies. No more Saturday Schools. No more phone calls to your parents.

Not that I’m advocating truancy or anything, but one has to appreciate the logic that playwright Jonathan Rand came up with when he crafted this unique and charming comedy that the students pulled off with perfection.

My personal favorites were the tips on how to succeed in an English class, where the apparent cocktail to success is just saying something with 100 percent confidence. You can augment that, as the audience learned, by mentioning Freud, likening something to death or using the words albatross or juxtaposition.

When that all fails just add pauses and commas in the vein of Robert Frost – where Jonah Ledesma gave a brilliant recreation of the great poets’ work with comedic emphasis that had nearly everybody, performers included, in stitches.

The production itself was mainly carried out by an ensemble cast, but Jacob Larkin managed to steal the scene he was in at the beginning of the play with his quiet confidence, even beside Marcus Richard and his “Gangham Style” dance that ripped up the floor of the Black Box but couldn’t take away from the high school cool that Larkin carried with him.

And as anyone who has been in high school within the last 20 years can vividly remember, dressing out for PE can be one of the biggest hassles of your entire day.

So why not just shut the whole system down with a good old-fashioned revolution.

The entire ensemble came out for the last segment where the narrators instructed students on how to force the school board to bend to their will. It was slick and it was hilarious and it was perfectly put together with the signs and the chants and energy everybody brought to the table.

But the clincher – and what kept me laughing even after I left – was when the two students opted for “thumb wrestling” as their alternative while the entire cast crowded around and rooted. Priceless.

It wasn’t a very long production – lasting a little over 30 minutes – but it gives the viewer a chance to both support the continuation of art in schools and the work that these young students have put into making these words on a page something visually and auditorily stimulating. 

Just don’t be late. Unless your name is “here.”

Those who missed it will get another chance tonight when the underclassmen-heavy performance makes its second run at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door and help offset the royalties paid for the performance.

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