And thus dawns the end of the school year, or at least nearly so. How has it gone for you? Were you able to live up to the expectations you set for yourself? Did you finish all your homework? Did you meet any new friends? That’s all well and great, I’m sure, but what’s really important is what just happened to the world on April 30th and May 1st and 2nd—Great Mills High School’s Lighthouse Productions’ Pippin.
For those of you who didn’t see it, sorry your life sucks. But here’s a synopsis anyway: our hero Pippin is in a play. I mean, like, a play inside a play. It’s kind of meta. So there’s a director who guides Pippin through life in the play, but she’s evil in a way, and there were a bunch of dancers, and he’s trying to find meaning to his life, but the director or whatever is kinda leading him to do what she plans for him, and—oh, whatever. It’s impossible to describe. You should’ve been there.
But the amount of professionalism in this play was simply spectacular. And I don’t mean ‘professional’ as to belittle high school and say it’s not professional; I mean as in it’s considerably professional by professional standards. I’ve seen plays at the Kennedy Center that I’ve enjoyed less than Pippin.
The choreography was so organized and endeavored that it made me feel guilty that I can’t even remember to take the chicken out of the freezer. I’ve never seen a play that so effectively incorporated dancers as main characters. Because of them, I experienced emotions I never even knew existed. I’m pretty sure Rizzardi and all the people involved in the play have made a scientific breakthrough upon discovery of a new emotion called Glory. And I don’t mean glory, I mean Glory, with a capital G. People who saw it? You know what I’m talking about. Yeah, that’s right. You’re going to have to face it again sooner or later.
To people who didn’t see it: there was a part of the play in which Pippin was excited to go to war and everyone was cheering about the glory of it all, and almost immediately following was a scene of jarring cognitive dissonance in which three people were happily dancing on stage to smooth music while in the audience, with the red spotlight flowing back and forth through the seats, there were actors screaming in horror and panic with the periodic pound of gunshots. It was all in the dark, so the audience could see nothing except for maybe a silhouette of an actor falling to the ground next to their seat. I saw the play twice, and let me tell you, it didn’t get any less collar-pulling, heart-clutching, and forehead-wiping the second time.
The rest of the play was just as emotional across the whole spectrum. The audience laughed just as often as it cringed. The signature quirkiness and energy found in all of Rizzardi’s plays were as prominent as ever. There was never a point throughout the almost two and a half hours watching it that I was remotely distracted or thrown out of the content in any way. Truly, in this ever-apathetic world in which we struggle to feel emotions, Pippin has wracked us with every emotion imaginable.