Students tackle daring play


The theater department has begun preparing for the annual Virginia High School League theater competition that will take place on Feb. 2. In the past years, AHS has made it to the Regional and even State competition levels.

The competition will feature three scenes from the 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire written by Tennessee Williams. They include a passionate kissing scene, a violent fight scene and an implied rape scene.

After speculation over whether the play selections were too controversial to perform, department head George Bennett and the students agreed to proceed with the auditions. The three scenes were selected by  theater students and were initially opposed by administrators. Bennett decided to continue to prepare for the competition because the audiences’ standards are different.

“At VHSL, the only people coming to see it would be interested actors, parents,and theater people who understand that kind of play,” Bennett said. “So it’s different than just producing it for the general public.”

The play, set in 1940’s New Orleans, is about an aging southern debutante trying to start a new life, job and reputation after the loss of her ancestral mansion in the town of Laurel, Mississippi.

“I am very excited because [the play is] very difficult [and] risque,” senior Maddy Reinert said. She will play Blanche DuBois.

Blanche’s brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski, played by senior Alex Lash, is a cruel and abusive character who is set on ruining Blanche’s reputation in New Orleans.

“I feel I relate to my character in some ways because my character says what he wants and doesn’t care,” said Lash.

This year Bennett is making a few changes to the casting reqiuirements, hoping it will bring in new talent for VHSL.

“In previous years I have only allowed students in my theatre classes to participate in VHSL,” Bennett said. “Now I am opening up the chance to participate to the entire school.”

Theater students have high expectations for the competition this year.

“It is going to be a challenge to fully embody our characters,” senior Skye Lindberg said. “But I think if we do that to the fullest potential we could win.”

Bennett thinks the students in the cast have lots of potential and has high hopes for the competition.

“I think we have a very good chance of winning because our actors are very talented,” Bennett said.