Theatre Information

Mount Vernon High School Aida: School Edition

By • May 21st, 2014 • Category: Cappies, Virginia

If we can glean any meaning from the bedtime stories we were once subjected to as children, it is the idea that love is timeless. Within Aida, written by Elton John and Tim Rice, this axiom is not only proven but, in fact, mocked altogether; after all, the musical begins with a shift from the present to ancient Egypt within the span of a song. As Radames, an Egyptian captain, returns from an expedition through Nubia, he is met by one of his most recent captives: a seemingly impoverished Nubian girl by the name of Aida. Although bitter enemies at first, what ensues is a tale of forbidden love, wretched betrayal, and an unexpected ending which leaves audiences in a state somewhere between pathetically sniveling and goofily grinning.

Within Mount Vernon High School’s production of Aida: School Edition, several aspects of the performance stood out; namely, the performance of the titular character, played by Erin Hugee. Throughout Hugee’s performance, she not only maintained a sense of professionalism in her vocals, but was able to stand apart from an ensemble of diverse voices during large group numbers. In her performance of “Easy as Life,” Hugee held her ground as she belted powerful notes from her position at center stage; furthermore, she commanded the attention of the audience during the trio performance of “A Step Too Far” through powerful facial expression. Hugee’s portrayal of Aida within MVHS’s Aida: School Edition was not only marked by a consistent vocal performance, but formed a character complete with evident depth.

The set of MVHS’s Aida: School Edition, although simplistic in design, provided a sense of purity throughout the turmoil of the show. The dual-leveled set allowed for a differentiation in height upon the stage, as well as an added level of interest to each scene. Although set changes were nonstop throughout the show, the simple set pieces allowed for transitions marked by minimal interruption. Furthermore, the inclusion of the hieroglyphics (which accurately depicted lyrics from the score) was a minute detail which carried with it a profound effect: not only did it enhance the sense of the period, but emphasized the importance of the lyrics that each cast member sang throughout the performance. Although not the most complex, MVHS’s set for Aida: School Edition allowed for a clean acting space while retaining professionalism.

The ensemble of “Nubians” within MVHS’s performance of Aida: School Edition achieved what every ensemble strives to achieve: ambiguity. Each was able to meld into a seamless ensemble while simultaneously standing out as individual performers. Alicia Foster, specifically, was able to blend into an ensemble while dancing during numbers such as “Dance of the Robe,” while standing out in roles such as the Jail Guard during Aida’s meeting with her father. Not only did she deliver her lines with conviction and motive, but also remained in character throughout the scene, even when away from the focus of the scene. Throughout the entire ensemble’s performance during MVHS’s Aida: School Edition, a sense of unity was present while each performer was able to succeed individually.

Although simplistic in spectacle as most high school shows are, MVHS’s Aida: School Edition did not disappoint in delivery. Each member of the cast assumed a personal ownership within their performance which was largely evident, and lent to an overall entertaining show. Not only did the uncomplicated aspects allow for more of a focus upon the performance of the cast, but allowed for a reminder of the audience on the theme of the show: love is timeless, love is simple, love is blind.

by Aiden Carroll of Heritage High School

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