By Grace Fields, Knightly News online editor-in-chief
About two weeks ago, Thomas Dale Theatre presented their production of Anon(ymous) by playwright Naomi Iizuka.
Dale’s take on Anon(ymous) was directed by theatre teacher Shannon Cassano and 2018 Student of the Year Marlene Laynez.
The play starred senior Myles Fields as Anon, senior Sakina Mustafa as Nemasani, sophomore Annaliese Santana as Naja, freshman Joshua Leggett as Ali, sophomore Deja Williams as Ritu, freshman Nyla Jones as Nasreen, freshman Emily Austin as Calista, senior Brayden Paitsel as Mr. Yuri Mackus, freshman Ryan Bartlett as Senator Laius/Nice American Father, senior Rachel Lesniak as Helen Laius/Nice American Mother, senior Corey Norman as Pascal, senior Sophia Anthony as Mr. Zyclo, senior Shahar Smith as Zyclo’s Bird, sophomore Laviana Ortiz as Belen, senior Cullen Nettleton as Strygal, sophomore Isabella Mashack as Serza, and sophomore Daniel Billings as Ignacio.
Anon(ymous) tells the story of Anon, a young refugee who just escaped his war-filled home country. While at sea, Anon is separated from his mother by a freak storm. After washing up in the United States, he goes on a journey to find his mother. He meets a variety of characters along the way and goes through many life threatening obstacles.
I personally really liked this stage adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey. There were moments in the show where I could easily point out references to the epic.
The cast did fantastic, as always. Everyone, freshman through seniors, put their all into this performance. They made sure the audience felt every emotion that each character felt. I especially enjoyed seeing some new faces mixed in with the usual faces in this show.
Cast member Laviana Ortiz enjoyed being in Anon(ymous). When the sophomore was asked what her favorite part about being in the show was, she said, “For me, my favorite part would probably be just having the chance to tell somebody’s story. And it’s not even just one person, so many people have been in the situation that my character Belen has been in. It was an honor to be able to portray that to an audience and to impact an audience by telling somebody else’s story. And, just the family and how much we were there for each other and helped each other out with our characters. That was such a great thing. I’ve never had such a connection with an ensemble and with a cast as much as I did with being in Anon(ymous).”
The production team behind the show did a fantastic job with lighting and sets. During a part in the show where there was a thunderstorm, for the lightning effects, the lighting crew would flicker all the lights in the auditorium to make the audience feel like they were a part of Anon’s journey.
What was done with the music in the show was something I enjoyed. Instead of just having music playing from speakers, a cast member would bring out a boombox and use that for the source of the music.
One of my absolute favorite parts of the performance was the ensemble cast and how they were used throughout the show. An artistic direction was taken with the ensemble being the shared voices of the refugees, ghosts, thunderstorm, sea, and Anon’s inner thoughts.
There wasn’t much of anything to dislike about this show except for the fact that up until the end I remained confused as to what was going on and why certain things were happening. The ending tied everything together, though, and helped me understand what was going on, which I loved.
To me, Anon(ymous) is probably the best show Dale has put on along with last year’s Eleemosynary, which was co-directed by Anon(ymous) cast member Sophia Anthony, and The Wiz.
Photos by Shannon Cassano