Forrest Gump had it all wrong. Life is like a box of chocolates? Yeah, right. The staff and young actors of Newton High School Drama’s latest production “Life Is Like a Double Cheeseburger” beg to differ.
With a title like that, one might expect the play to be some kind of farcical critique of fast food joints packed with plenty of laughs. Well, that latter part is certainly true, but director Melinda Worthington said the production is not that one dimensional.
Split into 16 scenes set inside different restaurants, the Flip and Finn Kobler-penned “Life Is Like a Double Cheeseburger” explores the life stories of several people, allowing actors to play a number of roles in the play.
“Some of them are comedic, some of them are contemplative, some of them are very reflective and some are very sad — they make me cry,” Worthington said of the play opening at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Center for Performance inside the high school.
Instead of merely one-time vignettes, certain characters will return for multiple scenes. The audience follows the lives of three high school graduates as they continue through adulthood, a waitress and her tenure at a diner, as well as the relationship of a father and son from the first scene in the play.
“It’s a fun show and it’s been really challenging for the kids because they’ve had to develop multiple characters,” Worthington said, noting that the structure of the 16-scene play is also a challenge for the young actors. “But the biggest challenge we’ve had in this show is all the multiple set changes that we have to do.”
Some scenes call for elegant restaurant decor or typical red-and-white diner cloths or bistro-esque picnic tables. The set-to-set structure of “Life Is Like a Double Cheeseburger” has been fun for the cast, Worthington said during one of the last few nights of rehearsal at Newton High School.
As the title eludes to, the play is primarily comedic in tone.
“Even in the scenes that are more reflective and heartbreaking there is some comedy, there is some humor — but as a whole this is a comedy,” Worthington said, noting that the play still has scenes to test young actors. “This is a multi-level show.”
Probably the most interesting challenges to come out of this particular show are the blocking and the spaces in which characters have to interact with each other. Since most are confined to their seats at restaurants, actors have think about the nuances of their performances, like their body language and facial expressions.
“One of the things I was excited about is we don’t always get a lot of time to work on crowd scenes. There’s an art to being in a crowd scene and not having the lines and being the focus of attention but yet keeping the show going and being a part of it,” Worthington said.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org