Local playwright’s show is ‘Breakfast Club’ 20 years later

By Katie Alicea-Tilton
Citizen Chronicle Theatre Critic

SOUTHBRIDGE — In the famous words of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” That was the feeling I left with after attending last night’s opening for Gateway Players Theatre’s “The Lost World,” written by local playwright Ed Humphries and playing this weekend and next at Fellowship Hall, Elm Street Congregation Church, 61 Elm St.

The story takes place in 2011 and flashes back to Turner Coven High School circa 1991.  Class president Alyson Hutchins (Kristie Tarr) is desperately trying to track down the last six classmates who seemed to have dropped off the radar, so she can invite them to their 20-year class reunion.  Finding herself in a rut, she reaches out to classmate and local police officer Reilly McInis (Seth Jajliardo) and asks him to use his police privileges to track down the last few. Reilly, being the dependable guy everyone knows him to be, follows through and completes the mission.

The long-awaited night finally arrives and the six classmates; Jamie Connor (writer/director Ed Humphries), Danielle Tenneman (Debi Bohenko), Michael Donatello (James Piehl), Haley Pierce (Mary Darling), Parker Knowles (Michael Swanson) and Hanna Belle (Danielle Holt) find themselves in a hotel ballroom for a night that will forever be seared into their memories.

I honestly didn’t have the slightest clue what the play was going to be about as I chose not to read the program before it started, wanting to go in with a clear mind and no preformed images in my head.  After the first act, I sat and pondered as it reminded me very much of another ’80s movie, “The Breakfast Club.” Come to find out afterwards, writer Ed Humphries acknowledged that movie in his message in the program.

“The Lost World” was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I laughed, I cried, and I thought really hard about life itself, life back then and life now, remembering the days of high school, being young and in love, drifting apart from one group of friends and finding a new group, promising to always keep in touch and then never following through.  Life happens and people go in different directions, sometimes finding their way back to each other through an unforeseen circumstance.  We were all in one way or another in an awkward place during high school and can relate to “The Lost World.”

There is still time to experience your own bit of time travel, with shows at 7:30 p.m. April 14, 20 and 21 and at 2 p.m. April 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15; $13 for seniors and youths under 18.  Visit gateway players.org for more information.

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