Buena Theater department performs student-written play amidst pandemic


Photo by Faith Stewart

Unlike previous years, Buena theater provided a demand stream for anyone to enjoy for 5 dollars.

Faith Stewart, Editor-in-Chief

In the midst of the fast track pace to normalcy, Buena theater opened their doors to perform the one-act student written play “Nuclear Family”. Although the play is only 35 minutes, in my four years of going to watch Buena’s Drama productions, “Nuclear Family” is the most relatable play I have seen yet by demonstrating the struggles of family life. 

“I think just getting to do the play is a big deal, it was pretty exciting too,” Senior Quinn Lewis who played as Charlotte Bakersaid.

The play takes place in 1950s America, in the quiet town of Poppy Falls. The narrator calls the town a “shadowland”.In the shadowland, not everything is as it seems. The audience witnesses an ordinary evening dinner party with the Baker Family. While the dinner party is happening, the threat of nuclear annihilation is being broadcasted by the local news station. 

“I think every family has some underbelly, nothing in their family was so traumatic except for Lidia and Jenny,” Drama Director Karen Rodrigues said. “I think that a lot of people identify with it.”    

The play is written during the drama programs’ small group by the six student actors, a different approach to Buena theater this year.  Another difference is that  actors performed with masks due to COVID-19 regulations. 

“Everyone was willing to listen to everyone else’s ideas, so it was really to be creative, so I thought that was really nice,” Senior Andrea Venegas who played as Vanessa said.

While the play set design was simple, it was the perfect backdrop to the portrayal of each character which was powerful enough to give anyone goosebumps from the sheer emotions they conveyed. I believe that Lidia Baker, played by junior Lenora Pell, excelled in her role. The way she was able to channel her emotions to emphasize anger and betrayal was something I have never seen done so well from high school actors. 

It is also worth noting that junior Anastasia Leaseberg performed flawlessly as Neal Waverman and Jenny despite only having a week to master her lines after Chole Johnson was unable to perform.  

While the play set design was simple, it was the perfect backdrop to the portrayal of each character which was powerful enough to give anyone goosebumps from the sheer emotions they conveyed.”

“We love [Chole] and we wish she was able to, but Anna [Anastasia] came in… and we are very proud of her and grateful for her to step in,” Rodrigues said. “As the drama teacher, I was really impressed with the way these young people worked together to create something.”

Leaseberg said she was happy to be part of the play and “stepping up and learning [her] lines and getting to know the cast in the little time [she] did.”

Due to the short window that people can see the play in person, the play was also recorded. This recording can be found here for a purchase of 5 dollars for anyone to watch within 24 hours of purchase. However, the availability of the stream will not last forever, as the last day to watch it will be June 1 at 11:25 am pacific time- this deadline may be extended depending on if she gets “the permission from the authors”, according to Rodrigues.

Overall this play is unforgettable, and I hope that more people are able to see it this year. Despite the hardships of COVID-19, student actors and everyone involved in the Buena drama program, have not slowed down and the drama department has persevered, I believe the Buena drama department will come back stronger than ever.