JBHS Drama presents Flowers For Algernon, an award-winning short story adapted for the stage, at the Burroughs High School auditorium on Friday, November 21, Saturday, November 22, and Sunday, November 23.
Students in teacher Guy Myers’ drama classes bring the story of Charlie Gordon and his world to life. Junior Nick Apostolina portrays Charlie, a mentally-retarded man, who undergoes an emotional and intellectual journey as he takes part in a scientific experiment to increase his intelligence.
“It’s been a learning experience playing a complicated character like Strauss,” commented senior Brennan Flynn. “It’s a challenge to strike a balance between being an authoritative doctor with his career on the line and being an almost fatherly figure to the central character, Charlie.”
“Mr. Myers really helped me to find who Strauss really is and what he really wants and especially to find the distinctions between my character and fellow researcher Nemur, with whom I share so much stagetime,” Flynn added. “As I grow as an actor, I find myself relishing the challenge of taking on more nuanced roles like Dr. Strauss – and whenever I take on a new persona, it’s an opportunity to discover something of that character within me and learn more about myself.”
Dr. Strauss, Professor Nemur and Alice Kinnian evaluate and work with Charlie throughout the story. The experimental surgery that increases Charlie’s intelligence has only worked one time previously, on a mouse named Algernon.
“Honestly, this role has been a challenge,” said senior Samantha Rubin, who portrays Charlie’s teacher, Alice. “Alice Kinnian is a teacher for the mentally handicapped, who sees someone she really cares for ultimately fall apart before her very eyes. There is so much depth to all of the characters in the show.”
“Getting to work with one of my best friends, Nick Apostolina, every single day was a blast,” Rubin went on to say. “I loved rehearsing with everybody in this cast. It’s so amazing how many lifelong friendships you get to make in our program.”
As Charlie’s intelligence increases exponentially, he struggles with the realization that many of the people in his everyday life have treated him poorly. Just as Charlie reaches his peak intelligence, Algernon starts to show regression in capability. The story becomes a race against time for Charlie to reach more of an emotional maturity as his intelligence decreases.
“This show was a brilliant challenge. Playing the character of Nemur was a challenge to me personally because it was mainly about finding a natural and believable way of delivering the lines,” commented senior Sawyer Patterson. “The process has been extremely fun.”
“It was nice that even though the subject matter of the play is serious, the behind the scenes were always full of jokes that kept the overall feeling light and everybody happy,” Patterson also said. “This show is unique and difficult so I hope audiences will enjoy it.”
“Flowers for Algernon is about Charlie Gordon’s search for identity and purpose and our need as human beings to feel that our lives meant something while we were here,” commented Myers. “The complex material is really challenging our students and giving them opportunities to grow as actors as they tackle this emotional piece.”
“I am so proud of all of the hard work they have put in on the show over the past few weeks and know they will shine on opening night.” he added. “This heartbreaking and relatable play will surely touch audiences of all ages.”
More information on the play can be found on the JBHS Drama website. Tickets for the performances are $8 for students, senior citizens and school faculty and $12 for adults and can be purchased online here.