Fairleigh Dramatics club to perform ‘Speech and Debate’ this month

Laurel Henk

Staff Writer


What do you get when you combine homosexuality, teen pregnancy, political scandal and a couple of nude body stockings? You get a strange, yet oddly hilarious, concoction that can only be understood by attending Fairleigh Dramatics’ production of “Speech and Debate.”

Dramatists Play Service describes “Speech and Debate” as “three teenage misfits in Salem, Oregon [who] discover they are linked by a sex scandal that’s rocked their town. When one of them sets out to expose the truth, secrets become currency, the stakes get higher, and the trio’s connection grows deeper in this searching, fiercely funny dark comedy with music.”

The quality of the production can be attributed to the enthusiasm of the cast and crew. Each of the members had their own reasons for being involved with the show, but there is one common theme: love of theater.

Lauren Capadona, the stage manager for the show, wanted to find a way to be involved with Fairleigh Dramatics while gaining experience in theater.

Michael Saunders, who plays Solomon, also wanted to be involved with theater, and is grateful for his role in this production.

“This is what I love doing and Fairleigh Dramatics has given me a chance to perform, and I’m so thankful for them for that,” Saunders said.

Francesca Carr, playing the role of Diwata, wished to be onstage.

“I thought it had a really fun story with a good message, I knew Fairleigh Dramatics would be a blast to be involved with, and I was feeling majorly performance-deprived.”

When asked what message “Speech and Debate” leaves the audience with, Bradley Berdecia, who plays Howie in the show, replied, “I think ‘Speech and Debate’ leaves the audience with the sense that this is how some adolescents view the world they live in. They want to be able to express themselves and enjoy freedom instead of holding in their feelings.”

It is the general consensus among the cast and crew that “Speech and Debate” is a unique play.

Alyssa Marshall would agree; “‘Speech and Debate,’ though somewhat a comedy, tackles really touchy and relevant issues that are prevalent in today’s society,” Marshall said.

With its various elements (from sex scandals to homosexuality in conservative schools), combined with its comedic tone, “Speech and Debate” is sure to spark discussions among audience members.

The cast’s portrayal of characters holding conflicting beliefs helps to press the importance of these debates, while simultaneously creating a bizarrely comedic atmosphere.

The characters and themes of the play create a mirror, reflecting our own society, and make viewers contemplate the state of our own particular beliefs on politics, sexuality and other important topics.

Fairleigh Dramatics’ “Speech and Debate,” directed by Devon Savage, will take place in the Barn from Nov. 16 to 19.

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