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Arts & Entertainment

Theater Review: “Calvin Berger”

Monday, January 12, 2014 by Skyler Stanford

Pictured in this provided photo is the cast of “Calvin Berger," left to right: Noah Casner (Matt), Carolyn Shields (Rosanna), Liam McKenna (Calvin), and Alyssa D’Angelo (Bret).  Understudies are Samantha Casner, Matthew Boyce, Conan Madigan and Izabel Cavotta.

Pictured in this provided photo is the cast of “Calvin Berger,” left to right: Noah Casner (Matt), Carolyn Shields (Rosanna), Liam McKenna (Calvin), and Alyssa D’Angelo (Bret). Understudies are Samantha Casner, Matthew Boyce, Conan Madigan and Izabel Cavotta.

On the opening night of “Calvin Berger”, at Saratoga Springs High School, attendees were met by crowds of people, all excited to experience another well put-together production by the S.S.H.S. Drama Club.

The musical began with an introduction to the main character, Calvin Berger. Calvin dreamed about a girl he has been in love with for a long time named Rosanna. From the opening scene, we see how insecure Calvin is about his nose and his overall appearance. Through the entire play, Calvin believes that his nose is the one reason why a girl like Rosanna, pretty and popular, could never love him back. Meanwhile, Bret, another girl and his best friend, loves him for who he is and for everything he is: smart, funny, and passionate.

When Calvin discovers that Rosanna has a thing for Matt, he and Matt devise an unexpected plan. The plan is to get Rosanna to fall in love with Matt. Calvin’s thinking being that if he can entice Rosanna with the words he gives Matt to say, then when it is revealed that it has been Calvin and not Matt saying them (this is the part Matt’s not in on) she will realize that Calvin is the one she wants to be with despite his looks. The first part of the plan works and Rosanna falls in love with Matt, not being able to resist Matt’s dashing good looks and the poetic words of Calvin. When everyone finds out about the secret plan of Calvin, everything begins to fall apart. Rosanna feels that she has been used, Bret is mad at Calvin for neglecting her while he helped his true love fall in love with someone else, and Matt is outraged that Calvin tried to use him as a puppet to get to Rosanna.

The play concludes with Rosanna and Matt making up, and Calvin and Bret entering a new chapter of their relationship (a romantic one). Despite the fairly rosy ending, the writer presented the conversation on social stereotypes displayed in a funny and relatable way, as well as, the overlaying motif of love in high school that is superficial. For example, Calvin’s love for Rosanna was very passionate and honest, but he was really just in love with the idea of being with her. Calvin never gave any deeper reason why he loves her other than her beauty. Even Rosanna says herself that she doesn’t have that much to offer in terms of character (not being a super smart or funny girl). Also, Rosanna’s initial love for Matt is mostly based on his looks, Matt being the stereotypical “dumb jock” that struggles to find the right words. Though Rosanna and Matt’s love becomes much deeper after Matt gives her love notes and bits of poetry by Calvin, in the end when all is revealed she still takes Matt back and accepts the fact that he really isn’t that bright. All the other characters were just as sensitive and just wanted to be loved and accepted despite their flaws. Something to be learned is that if you are yourself, someone will love you for who you are, but it just might not be the person you wanted.

An interesting question is, should we broaden our minds and look past outward appearance? When you take a step back and even compare our school in Saratoga to the school in “Calvin Berger” there really aren’t that many differences, at least in terms of teenagers who could easily fit each stereotype. So an obvious question is, why couldn’t Rosanna end up with Calvin in the end? Or more broadly, why can’t (or won’t) popular girls date guys who don’t have the same social status as them? It’s almost as if there is two different worlds in high school, one ruled by the “popular” and another that is for the average and the “nerdy”. The happy ending of the play comes not when the characters are willing to step over these boundaries, but when they decide to stay within them, which makes the play more realistic than it might seem at first glance.

As for the performance of our schools Drama Club, the show was spectacular. The cast was amazing and everyone fit their part so well, and technically the production worked out very well in the smaller auditorium.


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