Theatre Information

TheatreLab Speech and Debate

By • Aug 22nd, 2013 • Category: Reviews, Virginia
Speech and Debate
TheatreLab: (Info) (Web)
Richmond Triangle Players Theatre, Richmond, VA
Closed August 19th
2:20 with intermission
Reviewed August 19th, 2013

Tonight I saw my last show of the summer, and my first show of the new Richmond Theater season, and let me start out by saying I am sorry!

I am sorry to the cast and crew of TheatreLab’s Speech and Debate that I did not get to see the show before closing night, so I could have helped spread the word what a phenomenal show you had! And I am sorry to my readers that I did not get a chance to tell you about this wonderful show before it closed.

As I have said before, I am not generally one to laugh out loud in public. This show had me in hysterics from start to finish.

Speech and Debate tells the story of three high school students who are each loners, each know a secret about the adults in their town, and each has a secret or two of their own to hide. The entire plot is revealed through a series of “debates” among the characters as they form a speech and debate team.

Solomon (Marquis Hazelwood) is an uptight wannabee journalist, whose conservative parents don’t accept his sexual preferences. Howie (Zach Bannard) is the new kid in town, who happens to frequent gay chat rooms and have occasional hook-ups with older men. Diwata (Kelsey Cordrey) has her own web diary where she reveals TMI about her own drama along with some rumored drama of her drama teacher.

There just aren’t enough superlatives to describe the talent of these three young actors. Each takes turns delivering great comedic moments, yet presenting characters that are real and believable. Let’s just say I will never hear the words “bathing suit area” without bursting out laughing again.

The actors drew pictures to animate stories their characters wrote, which were shown behind them on a screen. Uproarious would be an understatement.

Katrinah Carol Lewis adds her classy and point on talents as TheaterLabs’ summer session guest artist. She shows her diversity in portraying both a teacher and a reporter demonstrating great differentiation in her acting style and characterization.

Director DeeJay Gray shows unlimited ability to be creative, original and relevant. From his casting and staging to his use of visual graphics, a web cam and popular music; Gray keeps the show lively and fresh. Maggie McGrann’s costumes help develop the characters, especially showing Solomon’s transformation and self-acceptance. Amy R. Surratt’s sound and Addie Pawlick’s lighting worked especially well considering they were adapted to work in someone else’s space (and a special shout out to Richmond Triangle Players for giving a home to this orphaned show).

All three young actors show great promise (I can especially see them in a future cast of Saturday Night Live).

My only regret is that there is no way you will ever get to see what I saw. Even if Speech and Debate is performed in the area again, I doubt it will have the same quality that resulted from the perfect mixture of just the right cast, just the right director and staff in just the right venue.

Photo Gallery

Diwata: Kelsey Cordrey Howie: Zach Bannard
Diwata: Kelsey Cordrey
Howie: Zach Bannard
Solomon: Marquis Hazelwood
Solomon: Marquis Hazelwood

Photos provided by TheatreLab

The Cast

  • Howie: Zach Bannard
  • Solomon: Marquis Hazelwood
  • Diwata: Kelsey Cordrey
  • Teacher/ reporter: Katrinah Carol Lewis

The Crew

  • Director: DeeJay Gray
  • Assistant Director/ Projection Design: Chanelle Vigue
  • Stage Manager: Addie Pawlick
  • Production Manager: Theresa Mantiply
  • Lighting Design: Addie Pawlick
  • Costume Design: Maggie McGrann
  • Sound Design: Amy R. Surratt
  • Sound Engineering: Amy R. Surratt and Joe Morris
  • Props Design: Maggie Bavolack
  • Run Crew: Alex Eliades, Christian Hill, Reid Kirtley and Theresa Mantiply
  • Promotional Photos: Ben Hill
  • Poster and Program Design: DeeJay Gray

Disclaimer: TheatreLab provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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