So much fun! SPHS Drama’s fall production of the psychological thriller, TRAP, is an intense thrill ride that keeps you guessing from beginning to the final, head-spinning moment. The show is a unique combination of documentary theatre, procedural mystery, and supernatural rollercoaster – in other words, strap in for a chill-inducing experience that takes you on an intriguing, goose-bumpy ride.
One word of advice, do not google anything about this play before going or things will certainly be spoiled. Rest assured, you will find no spoilers in this review because truly, that’s half the fun of seeing TRAP.
A mysterious incident has occurred at the Oak Box Theater in Menachap, California, where the entire audience attending a play, save for one person, has fallen unconscious. A sharp, young detective tries to piece together the evidence and we begin to learn about some unsettling events that occurred at the theater in the past and in the days and moments before the incident. The story is told through interviews with the sole survivor, first responders, students at the school, and researchers who have been studying similar phenomena.
The story captivates from the beginning and, together with Stephen Gregg’s writing and Nick Hoffa’s masterful direction, keeps the tension and suspense building in a fast-paced, one-act that carenes into a shocking conclusion. The cast is a true ensemble with every actor taking on multiple roles, each capturing the fears and anxieties of the people involved and illuminating more clues as we begin to piece together what is going on. They work beautifully together in walking a fine line with the audience between what’s real and what isn’t.
The cast is all in, completely invested – so much so that when the twists and turns occur, the audience is discombobulated to the point of questioning what is and isn’t intentional, becoming in turn equally invested in the “hunt”. Your mind begins to play tricks on you, which is at once disconcerting, uncomfortable, and exciting.
Some standout performances are Milla Sanchez-Regalado as the no nonsense, new on the job detective, Gwendolyn Heche. She leads the audience through her process of figuring out what happened with a determined yet compassionate touch. Via Abelev is fascinating and mysterious as Kenosha, the one person who seems to have actually witnessed something before the incident. Charlotte Dekle is forceful and razor sharp, raising the stakes as researcher Marion Jay. Sophia Swallow is fierce in her vulnerability as the only person to survive the incident, Angela Lure. Dashiell Roll is charismatic in the dual role of Rickenoch/Jonathan and has great chemistry with Lucia Benning who brings passion and pathos to the role of the romantic and doomed Norma Pike.
As always, James Jontz and his technical team work to bring Hoffa’s innovative vision to life, creating a theatre in different eras along with various sequences in the town, the hospital and a visually creative oceanfront scene. Hoffa’s sound design using the music of Erik Satie set the perfect, otherworldly and eerie tone.
So, buckle up, enjoy this twisty ride and above all, Don’t Tell The Secret! At least until the run is over!
TRAP is directed by Nick Hoffa with technical direction by James Jontz and continues it’s run November 10, 11 & 12. All show are at 7pm. Tickets and information at SouthPasDrama.com
Performances held at the Little Theatre at South Pasadena High School 1401 Fremont Ave. South Pasadena, CA. General admission is $15.
The cast includes Via Abelev, Keira Adams, Lucia Benning, Tiger Carpenter, Shelby Collins, Caitlyn Colmenares, Charlotte Dekle, Lily DiCandia, Alexandra Gossett, Mina Mannal, Travis Obando, Dashiell Roll, Milla Sanchez-Regalado, Lillian Sherman, Sophia Swallow, Mia Tavera, Mikala Toshima, Vivian Yu, and Madeline Wernberg. Understudies: June Barthelemy, Belen Belavek, Mia Chamorro, Radine Simpson, Maggie Vyas, and Mathias Atencio. Student Producers: Simone Ashton, Elena Kubarycz, Solon McDonald, Michelle Shadmon, Gwyneth Daley, Julia Hoffman, Michelle Maling.
SPHS Drama will present the Steve Martin and Edie Brickell musical BRIGHT STAR, this spring at the Anderson Auditorium. Stay tuned for details.