by Sarah M. Chichester · May 29, 2014
Indie Artists on New Plays #100 Sarah M. Chichester looks at Diary of a Catholic School Dropout, part of Planet Connections Festivity Diary of a Catholic School Girl Dropout, written and directed by Layon Gray, is about a young, nameless, 18 year old girl in high school (portrayed by Ebonee Noel) who looks through her diary entries from her life thus far on the day she commits suicide. As she looks back, we see specific memories of her life through the eyes of eight different aspects of her personality (simply named 1-8) through the reasons she wants to kill herself, along with some of the happier experiences.
Even with a few plot holes in the script, the overall production was quite strong and powerful. One of the strongest aspects of this production is Gray’s choreography. The movement and tableau’s Gray created with this cast is simply powerful and stunning. Between her happy youthful nature (which often included the ensemble singing Motown songs that were popular at the time of the girl’s life) and the darker parts of her past, we really got to see the full picture of who this girl was. The ensemble as a whole was also really quite stunning. I found each one of the nine in total to be exceptional in their roles. Particular actors Christina Toth (who portrayed #1), and Maria Smith (who portrayed #6) had performances so moving one can’t help but feel with them what they are going through. Cast also includes Kara Marie Rosella, Angelina Cavallini, Chloe Malaise, Courtney Schreiber, Roberta Little, and Devin Bailey Griffin.
The design aspects of the play were also quite strong. With simplistic yet powerful effective lighting (by Jonathan Santos), and youthful costumes (uncredited) the design elements really add to an overall powerful production.