MVHS Drama Llamas present “Odd Party”

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Program synopsis: Five friends reconnect at the last party of the school year. There seems to be magic in the air; old romances are rekindled and new romances are brought to light, and the friend group becomes embroiled in a web of hasty teenage affection. But there are five of them, and poor Daniel gets left out of all of the gooey feeling and warm hearts. Odd Party is an exploration of friendship, friend groups, and third wheeling. There’s plenty of people out there to care about, and not all of them are going to care about you. So why waste time lamenting over the ones that don’t care when true friendships are right around the corner?

Odd Party will be playing at 7:00 p.m on Friday, May 19 in the MVHS theater. Admission is free.

Directed by juniors Olivia Porat and Caden Gaviria and senior Payton Millet, “Odd Party” is an MVHS Drama Llamas production featuring a group of five estranged friends who reunite at the last party of the school year. The party is attended by almost everyone at the friends’ high school, and the ensuing night features a rollercoaster of teenage romance, disappointment, drama, and revitalization, leaving the audience with a lesson about superficial partnership and true friendship.

The musical is the result of many months of hard work by the cast and production team with regular two hour rehearsals, three times a week since the beginning of February.

“We had a couple of all-day Saturday rehearsals that ran for like five to seven hours,” Director and composer lyricist Payton Millet said. “Writing the music took a few long nights.”

“It was a very collaborative process with Payton, and we talked about [the script]a lot to prepare for it, but when it just came down to writing it, it was just a blur of fingers typing and phone calls being made as we put together structure and just hammered it out,” Writer Christien Skousen concurred.

Millet commended his orchestrator Zakriya Bashir-Hill for his help throughout.

“My responsibility in writing the music was getting the music, lyrics, and piano complement part written, and then I send that off to my orchestrator Zakriya, who’s the best, and he translates that to a wider ten piece orchestra,” Millet said.

The friend group the play follows features a cast of caricatures whose conflicting philosophies clash throughout.

Keith, played by senior Christien Skousen, is a typical pretty boy cruising through his last year of high school. With good looks and confident swagger, his reconciliation with Sally at the party sets the stage for the night’s conflict.

“Keith really cares about all these friendships and he’s a very social guy,” Skousen said. “Keith seems to be able to let people go when they want to leave.”

Sally, played by junior Peyton White, is an ambitious young woman who has everything lined up for herself. She is leaving for an internship in Southern California the day after the party, but is up for one last fling with Keith before she leaves.

“[Sally] leaves and she’s mostly fine with that. She was saying goodbyes, and there was a [certain]finality to it,” Skousen said. “If you don’t want it to matter, it doesn’t have to matter and it’s not bad.”

Jason, played by junior Caden Gaviria, is also very handsome, and his obsession with vases serves as the focus of his love throughout the musical, ultimately serving to break up his brief romance with Rebecca after his vase is broken in an altercation.

Rebecca, played by junior Grace Wilken, is obsessed with obtaining the signatures of every member of their class in her yearbook. It dominates her interactions with the others from the onset.

“We have Rebecca and Jason as kid of like parody characters. They’re just over the top. [Rebecca] is peaking in her high school experience,” Skousen said. “She’s generally just a prime example of what not to do and what it really isn’t about.”

Daniel, played by sophomore Henry Stirman, plays a solitary role throughout the play, as he is caught in the middle of his friends’ romances, unable to hold their attention for longer than their primary concerns take to resurface. Although Daniel wants to “get the band back together,” the self-centered nature of everyone around him dominates throughout, further isolating him.

“Keith has dozens of friends, Daniel has like three friends,” Skousen said. “This is all happening over one night, Keith is normally a better friend than this, but in this one, Daniel’s kind of being a drag.”

Skousen believes that Daniel is very self-centered, as he doesn’t really consider anyone’s concerns other than his own.

“He’s petty and vain, and he wallows a whole lot,” Skousen said in reference to Daniel. “He’s not wrong, but he’s not doing the things he needs to do to be happy, whereas Keith has a mindset that allows him to be happy.”

Daniel’s character represents a fine line between caring about others and simply being interested in resolving a vacancy in one’s own life, a conflict between selflessness and selfishness that presents and important question for the audience as we witness Daniel’s experience playing out.

“I think Odd Party walks a nice line between the cliche and the joyous, but also representing some of the more complex aspects of relationships seen through the lens of nostalgia,” Millet said. “What Odd Party asks is how many of these people were really formative to your high school experience, how many of them actually cared about you, and in conclusion we say that though your true friends may be few, those few friends are truly true. That’s the idea basically, that you don’t need a lot of people to love you, you just need a few people to love you a lot.”

Alec Olslund
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