Highs and lows

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Elise Halbe (10) and Connor Ryan (10) act in “You’re Driving me Crazy.” The duo played a nervous driving instructor and hesitant new driver. Photo by: Abigail Hines (12).

Emily Badger

Blackout. Music. Lights up. A nostalgic diner scene complete with a counter, cash register and table with a checkered cloth decorated the Black Box Theater on Tuesday, Dec. 7, when the Advanced Theater group, Radioacting, performed their scripted show, “Her Senior Year.”

Directed by Melissa Torres (12), the play was a coming-of-age drama about Blaire Parker, played by Ariana Kanaya (10), as she faced the largest obstacle of her life: cancer.

Blaire’s senior year was going perfectly. She was a cheerleader, homecoming queen and running for valedictorian. After a football game one evening, she and the gang hung out at Doghouse Diner. Everything appeared to be normal until Kyle, Blaire’s boyfriend, played by William Kruzan (12), noticed a bruise on her arm.

For months, Blaire battled acute mild lymphoblastic leukemia—without Kyle knowing, until they exchanged gifts on Christmas. After Kyle gave Blaire a promise ring, she could no longer keep her illness a secret.

“Promise me you’ll say your valedictorian speech,” Kyle said. “I promise,” Blaire replied, with a glimmer of hope.

More months passed, and it was graduation day. The seniors entered the stage, clad in caps in gowns— except Blaire. Kyle walked on, with a picture of Blaire and tape recorder in hand. Blaire’s friends went to the side of the floor, and Blaire walked on. A single light shone down on her as she performed a heartfelt monologue: her valedictorian speech. As the lights went down, sniffles could be heard from the audience, who were touched by the emotional performance.

The next show, Iprov’s “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” directed by Isabella Gomez (12) and Olivia LaVoie (10), provided comic relief with its lighthearted humor. The lights went up, and a car sat in the center of the scene and orange cones dotted the floor.

The play consisted of four unusual vignettes of driving lessons that did not go as planned. Scene One consisted of a whacky driving instructor, played by Elise Halbe (10), who feared anything with wheels. An obnoxious, overly-protective suburban family came along for their daughter’s first driving lesson in Scene Two.

Tension rose in Scene Three, when Ashley, played by Mackenzie Moore (10), was stuck in a car with her ex-boyfriend, Ben, played by Connor Ryan (10). Scene Four ended with a twist as the rigid driving instructor, played by Kelly Koester (10) smashed her own cell phone, thinking it was her technology-obsessed student’s, played by Emma Pederson (10).

The final scripted shows will be performed on Dec. 14 in the Black Box Theater.