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Deer Park High’s ‘Bob’ depicts an unusual life

December 21, 2018

Stage lighting tricks and creative set designs will help students perform the cross-country adventures of a fictional character in “Bob: A Life in Five Acts” at 7 p.m. Jan. 10-12 at Deer Park High School.

“It’s a comedy about a guy who lives a rather unique life,” said director Matthew Wasson, explaining that episodic scenes trace Bob’s search for a sense of purpose from his birth in the bathroom of a White Castle restaurant to a glimmer of fulfillment in his final moments.

“The play has a whole lot of heart,” said Wasson, who had seen only portions of the work, cut down to 40 minutes, in University Interscholastic League one-act play competitions.

“Once I got my hands on the script, I saw that it deserves to be told in full,” he said.

Gavin Connor, a junior, stars as Bob, portraying the title character from infancy through death.

“The kid has charisma for miles,” Wasson said.

Other characters are played by Jadyn Yarbrough (as Helen), Samantha Rosas (Jeanine), Kailei Fisseler (Bonnie), Nathan Hebert (Connor), Malori Koenig Dela-Cruz (Amelia), Liam McRee (Gunther), Zachary Longrigg (Tony) and Alexis Figueroa (Vera).

The chorus, which is crucial in portraying multiple roles to chronicle Bob’s journey from city to city, includes: Lauren McCauley, Reece Hamby, Kaitlyn Carroll, Greg Hernandez, Violeta Cuevas, Conner Rosas, Christopher Rodriguez, Tristan Hawthorne, Danielle Reitenour, CJ Miller and Alyssa Carroll.

A sideshow-type poster, which advertises the production by Curtain Call Theatre Society at DPHS, touts the play by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb as “an emblem of ingenuity, a story of hardship, a tale of love, a fable of hope: all told through the medium of genuine theatrical performance over the course of five acts!!”

Wasson envisioned the production as a performance by a company of traveling actors who are “just trying to make a buck.” Consequently, they must rely on creativity to portray the giant sweep of Americana that is the show’s backdrop.

For example, a spotlight on a frying basket tells the audience a scene is happening in the kitchen of a restaurant.

“The set changes rapidly, so the next minute, we are on a street,” Wasson said.

The stage manager for the show is Luke Jackson.

The assistant directors are Greta Lozano and Leslie Rocha.

Crew members include Presley Pyawasay, Zane Grace and Adrianna Cutshall.

“The play’s ‘bread and butter’ is its cultural references,” said Wasson, noting how allusions range from observations about Hillary Rodham Clinton to Madonna. “It has been interesting to see which jokes the kids latch onto. It is fun and rewarding to see when they get the humor.”

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net

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