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Bringing in “The Outsiders”

Roy Zhu '21, Contributor

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When The Outsiders––now a staple of American bildungsroman literature and arguably the pioneer of the young adult genre––was first published in 1967, it was, to say the least, controversial. A grim portrait of youth, dysfunction, and violence, The Outsiders served as a reminder of the less rosy side of American cities in the 1950s. The world of The Outsiders was very much different from our own, and it can be difficult relating to these distant figures of the past. Yet still, even in our lives here at BC High, The Outsiders resonates as a portrait of those communities whose protective walls are both supported and broken down by love and resilience. The relation is there; all it takes is some effort dedicated to fleshing it out.

While Sergel’s adaptation of The Outsiders can be called a condensed two-act play, it does a very good job at preserving the emotional tension and essence of the novel.

A good adaptation, a well-known story, and a heartfelt theme all bring us to this week’s rendition of the play by the Dever Players. The excitement for the play had been building these past few weeks, and I was lucky to have a chance to catch Thursday’s performance in the Bulger Auditorium. Serving as the first play of the season, there was definitely an air of conviviality running through the auditorium.

Everything from the innovative and well-designed stage set-up to the creative lighting and backdrop seemed to reinforce the play’s potential. The actors definitely gave a good first impression, with a fluid and agile pace that gave the play energy from the start. The fight choreography was surprisingly fluid and stunningly well-rehearsed, a unique addition from the novel. The choreography and staging itself was admirable, and the scene transitions were fast and natural: with the use of quick lighting changes and a creative use of music to emphasize a change of location.

That being said, the acting itself was sometimes a bit strained to fully “juice out” the emotional range of the characters, and could be slightly forceful at times to maintain a natural balance. However, the play seemed to pick up steam towards the end of Act I, with a beautiful soliloquy delivered by Ponyboy (Thomas Potts ‘20) that wrapped up the first half of the play. In fact, most of the monologues seemed quite well-spoken, delivering the raw emotion and internal conflict of the characters like punches to the audience.

The acting was confident and robust, and the actors each fit into their roles quite naturally, despite there being minor errors. I would say that credit is due to the efforts of a painstaking director,––an aspect too often overlooked by the audience. The dialogues would have had more impact had the chemistry between actors been stronger and more internalized, but the acting itself was strong enough to overshadow that. Speaking of strong acting, I felt that both Darry (Nick Fahy ‘18) and Dallas (Alec Carstoiu ‘19) did a wonderfully skilled job at pulling together the ensemble into one cohesive group.

All in all, I’d have to say that The Outsiders, while sometimes a bit rushed and rough with such a large group, maintained solid acting, a great cast, and was definitely a spirited, pulsing production. Yes, there were kinks, but the show was ene

rgetic, alive, and emotional, just as it should have been. It held the audience’s attention and, above any measure of success in the entertainment industry, it managed to do the thing that is at the heart of theatre: convey a message.

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The Eyes and Ears of BC High.
Bringing in “The Outsiders”