DHS actors go ‘Out On A Limb’ to make audiences laugh

By From page A14 | May 10, 2013

Check it out

What: “Out on a Limb”

Where: Brunelle Performance Hall, 315 W. 14th St.

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Tickets: $12 general, $6 students, available at the door

Rating: R, for theme and language

“Out On A Limb,” the Davis High School drama department’s latest production, is a mix of late-night comedy sketches with a hint of docu-drama. The show premieres at 7 p.m. Friday in the Brunelle Performance Hall at DHS and will be repeated Saturday at the same time and place.

Tickets are $12 general and $6 for students and will be available at the door.

This production — unlike the department’s last two single-narrative plays — is a collection of mostly comedic sketches and monologues. There is no overarching story line or theme for “Out on a Limb,” other than to make the audience think and laugh.

“It reminded me a bit of ‘Saturday Night Live’ when I first started working on it,” actor Brian Reed said. “Like a high school SNL, which was cool.”

The cast is also much smaller than the large ensembles of the previous production, with only 10 actors.

“The smaller cast is great because we’re all really bonded and connected,” actor Neal Rock said. “It’s fine that the cast is small because it isn’t a big play that requires a lot of characters.”

Most of the 10 actors perform in two sketches or monologues.

Eseosa Edebiri, Ariane Rusangawa and Ciara Brown will perform an improv sketch based on their experiences as African-American teenage girls in a predominantly white school.

“We’re just going to do us coming home from school and talking about what we go through on a normal day,” Brown said.

Other actors include Jose Arzaluz, Clayton Johnston, Chris Pereira, Nilesh Haile and Mandy Chen.

Aside from the improv, scenes and monologues were written by professional playwrights, including Tony-nominated writer Christopher Durang. The production is directed by Dillard Brown, a DHS graduate and actor who co-directed “The Breedless Kitsch,” with DHS drama teacher Gwyn Bruch.

“I’m technically the director, but (Bruch) is still hanging around to make sure things go smoothly,” Brown said.

While there is no specific theme in the production, certain topics and characteristics of past drama department plays have carried over. Race — an important topic in “Avenue Q” and “The Breedless Kitsch” — is addressed in the improv sketch, and the production is just as edgy as, if not more than, the department’s past productions.

The posters and website advertise the play as “rated R.” Some parts of certain sketches were altered to make the production more appropriate but most is unchanged.

“There’s a little bit of censoring — obviously, we had to take out some — but we kept a lot just because it is so funny,” Rock said. “It’s pretty adult. It’s intended to make you laugh and think.”

Actor Nilesh Haile, a senior, is glad to end his time in high school with this play.

“This is the first one that we’ve done that’s been short, sweet and pure comedy,” he said. “Everyone’s been great, and it’s a fun, interesting way to end my time in drama.”

Chris Garrison

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