Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Exit Strategy. It was written by Ike Holter and it was directed by Gus Menary. It was about a school called Tumbledon which was shutting down and one of their teachers, Pam (Barbara Figgins), makes a tough decision to leave the school. (You will understand what I mean better when you see it.) And nothing has gone right after she has left. There are secrets that all the teachers have been keeping and they all come out. They are trying to make the school not have to shut down and most of them have the same idea to save it, but some of them--by that I mean one of them--has a different idea. It is about friendship, having to let go of someone you love, and protesting.
I thought that the first scene was a good way to start it because it really told the story from the beginning so they didn't have to have a flashback. I don't really like flashbacks in plays like this that are supposed to be very realistic. I thought it was sad how Pam basically made a new friend, Ricky (Patrick Whalen), right before she left. That made it feel even worse because you thought, "Now she's made a new friend! Yay!" because she is always very crabby. But then she goes and leaves the school forever. I thought it was funny in that scene how they were very angry at each other and near the end they were like, "Hi." "Hi." I liked it when Ricky bought a cake from Jewel and then brought a full big old cake. And she's yelling at him and she says, "I did have a piece of the cake. It was very good." It was just an immediate change in the character and then going back to the yelling. Then she started going crazy singing the theme song for their school. I thought the song was kind of hilarious because she just started bursting out in clapping and jumping up and down. I think the playwright uses humor in this scene so at the end it will be a big boom.
Arnold (HB Ward) I think is a very troubled person. Ever since Pam left he has just been a gloomy gus. He tells Donnie (Jerry MacKinnon) to give up because he feels like its already gone. There is nothing to do about it. He is basically a villain but not a villain. He is like in peril. He is so sad about Pam leaving that he doesn't know what to think about. He is the opposite of comic relief. He is sadness non-relief. He is the person you feel sorry for throughout the play and he basically knows what to do, he knows if the plan to save the school will work. He is almost never happy except when Pam is there and you don't ever see that.
I liked the relationship between Luce (Danny Martinez) and Ricky because these two people are so different from each other except them both working at a school. Now that I think it about it, they kind of reminded me of Ricky and Lucy on I Love Lucy. Because of their names and because of the relationship they have which is that Luce is very open and Ricky is very like "No! No! No! That's weird. I'm a business-like man!" I would have liked it if the relationship could have gone a little bit better because then I think they could have been very happy together.
Jania (Paloma Nozicka) reminded me of my aunt, only my aunt is nicer. My aunt works in sort of the same job, like she helps troubled students and Jania helps mentally disabled students. They both help students that are having problems or have problems. I thought her character at first seemed like the snotty teenager, but once you get to know her character, she starts to be nice. Like when she gets champagne for the teachers, even though before she would just glare at them. When they were drinking champagne, Donnie said "I'll go and get the camera crew" and they all said, "No!" And he said, "To film the screaming crowd not the teachers drinking on the job!"
I loved the character of Donnie. He is the funniest character in the entire play. He kind of reminds me of the characters in Monty Python who are schoolboys but also surgeons and poetry artists because he is a teenager and he works at a school already. I think he was an influence on Ricky and Ricky was and influence on him. Donnie helps Ricky learn how to be funny and be a rapper. And Ricky teaches Donnie to never give up until he has been defeated completely. It made me angry and sad when Donnie was talking about having to ask for toilet paper to go to the bathroom.
People who would like this show are people who like funniness, sadness, and juice boxes. People should definitely go and see this show. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and you learn that it is not always easy to save something that you are proud of. But if you might be able to save it, try because the people who tried had new friends. But there is also a downside to it. You might lose some friends in the process. I loved this show because all the actors are really great and the writing is amazing.
Photos: Ryan Bourque