"Why can't I find something completely fulfilling?" Pippin proclaimed exasperatedly after his unsuccessful attempts at being a soldier, a king, and an ordinary person. With heart-pounding battle sequences, heartfelt moments, and a desire to stage a magical production, the Player's, a traveling performance troupe, attempt to tell the story of Pippin became much more than a simple retelling.

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology's production of "Pippin" by Roger O. Hirson and music by Stephen Schwartz journeyed through the universal question of where to find meaning in life. Originally opening in the Imperial Theater in 1972, this musical became the 36th longest-running Broadway show and won Best Revival of a Musical at the 2013 Tony Awards.

Being a musical about a musical, Thomas Jefferson High School's actors were tasked with acting as actors portraying characters. Riva Jain's Catherine found herself straying from the script, much to the disapproval of Yasmin Kudrati-Plummer's Leading Player, causing her to instill her last hope in the Finale, her one perfect act. To her dismay, Pippin refused to participate in her scheme and instead decided to follow his heart to a life of love with Catherine.

Pippin (Prajeet Chitty), being a new actor making his stage debut in the performance troupe's production, frequently looked around from cast member to cast member with confusion and exhilaration upon the immediate breakouts into song and dance. Chitty was able to maintain the audience's engagement through pacing back and forth across the entirety of the stage and singing out into the darkness before him with a sense of wonder and discovery. Chitty's curiosity was paired with Charlemagne's (Sri Vellakkat) condescension, as Pippin began his journey to turn himself into a soldier out of a prince. Vellakkat's booming voice and flamboyant gestures, along with his use of bubbles to emphasize his points, or lack thereof, revealed his incompetence to be King, motivating Pippin to start a revolution against him.

All would have been impossible without the involvement of the Leading Player. Kudrati-Plummer's calculated glides across the stage and rich voice commanded the stage, drawing all eyes towards her as she introduced each new character and ensured that her production would go to plan. Transitioning the story from Pippin's consecutive attempts at finding his true purpose, the Leading Player's midnight black skirt lit up with flashing lights of hot pink, cobalt blue, and electric green as she sang, to mirror that of the lights flashing on the set behind her. The lighting, designed by Charles Bucher, Ella Clarke, and Cullan Kelley, splashed neon reds, greens, and blues in-time with the songs on-stage, representing the whimsical nature of the circus that created this production.

The set, designed by Hannah Frieden, Dani Hunter, Champe Mitchell, Mira Singh, and Sri Vellakkat, was complete with a bridge connecting two towers, and with a ladder that, when turned around, revealed a throne. This set gave ample room for both the ensemble and audience to interact with it through the television screen mounted above the tower, which was made extensive use of as a means of karaoke for the audience during Berthe's (Evelyne Breed) laid-back and light-hearted, "No Time At All."

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology's "Pippin" highlighted the importance of discovering one's true story on one's own terms. By doing so, an even more fulfilling story may be written.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.